Kate Forbes has said she “dodged a bullet” or “something even more explosive” by losing the SNP leadership contest earlier this year.

The former Finance Secretary joked she sometimes felt “most delighted” at the outcome.

Humza Yousaf won the race by 52% to 48% against Ms Forbes on the final count, but has been overshadowed ever since by SNP scandal and infighting.

The early weeks of his premiership were derailed by the arrests of senior SNP figures, including Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, former party chief executive Peter Murrell.

Police are investigating if £660,000 specifically raised for Indyref2 was misspent.

Will the SNP slipping in the polls, Mr Yousaf today admitted the probe was hurting the party on the doorstep.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf admits SNP police probe damaging party on the doorstep

The party has also seen splits over its independence strategy.

At a special conference, Mr Yousaf replaced Ms Sturgeon’s plan to use the general election as a de facto referendum with a watered-down version based on MP numbers which has failed to inspire the membership.

One of the party’s sharpest internal critics, the Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, was expelled from the SNP on Thursday for indiscipline after choosing not to take the party whip after a suspension and calling the party “clueless” on how to win independence.

With Labour already targeting the seat, Ms Forbes said Mr MacNeil's exit would do the SNP “zero favours” at the general election.

She called for a “renegotiation” of the SNP-Green joint government deal as parts were now defunct, including a partial fishing ban and the doomed deposit return scheme.

Ms Forbes was speaking on the Edinburgh Fringe at For The Many Live with broadcaster Iain Dale and former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

She said not entering Bute House had given her more time with her first child Naomi, who was born last August.

Asked if she had “dodged a bullet” by losing the SNP leadership given the problems on Mr Yousaf’s plate since he won, she said: “I’ve certainly, whenever in the last few months, was returning home from toddler group when First Minister's questions on the radio, was most delighted by the way things had worked out. 

“So I think that it has been enormously difficult, and I think not just dodged a bullet, but perhaps something even more explosive than that.”

Asked about Mr MacNeil being thrown out of the SNP, the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP said she didn't know enough about the specifics of the case to say if it was justified.

But she said: “I think it's always unfortunate when anybody leaves.

“I think it's even more unfortunate when this has happened.

“I do not know the ins and outs sufficiently of what the case was, but I think this result does us zero favours when it comes to the next election in the Western Isles.”

Scottish Labour has made the seat one of its key targets at the elections, selecting the respected former Daily Record political editor Torcuil Crichton as its candidate.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf defends SNP's expulsion of MP Angus MacNeil

Ms Forbes added: “I do not know the case. But I do know in terms of outcome, that it does us no service in the Western Isles, which is going to be quite a challenging seat anyway for reasons that are probably pretty obvious.

"So I don't think it helps in that long term.”

During the leadership contest against Mr Yousaf and third-place finisher Ash Regan, Ms Forbes said it was “highly highly unlikely” that she would try again to be FM if she lost.

She repeated the line in the show, but appeared to leave the door slightly more ajar by adding at the end that that was her position “at the moment”.

Asked if she would “have another go” at the leadership, she said: “Certainly, at the moment, I absolutely stand by what I've said, which is, I have no desire to re-run.”