NICOLA Sturgeon will give her first speech in the Holyrood chamber today since she stood down as First Minister almost six months ago.

The former First Minister and SNP leader is due to speak in a debate on her successor Humza Yousaf's programme for government and is expected to address the issue of child poverty.

Ms Sturgeon has attended meetings and held press conferences in the Scottish Parliament since she stepped down, however the last time she spoke in the debating chamber was as First Minister on March 23.

The theme for the debate is equality and it is understood Ms Sturgeon is keen to talk about the blight of child poverty and how it can be addressed. It is understood she will speak around 3pm.

Watch LIVE: Nicola Sturgeon speaks at Holyrood

"It will be her first speech from the backbenches and I'm sure all eyes will be on the chamber to hear what she has got to say," a SNP source told The Herald.

As well as being the first time the former FM has spoken in the chamber since leaving office, it will also the first time since she was arrested by police investigating the SNP's finances.

The long-running probe continues to hang over her and her party Operation Branchform is investigating the party’s finances after a complaint was made about how £600,000 raised to fight an independence campaign was spent. 

The Herald: Nicola Sturgeon has prompted an angry reaction from lawyers by suggesting they were acting in a

Nicola Sturgeon speaking to journalists in a lobby in the Scottish Parliament following the arrest of her husband Peter Murrell and police search of their home and SNP headquarters.

Sir Iain Livingstone, the former Police Scotland chief constable, has said the investigation has subsequently expanded to examine “potential embezzlement”.

Ms Sturgeon was arrested, questioned and released without charge in June. This was the same procedure followed by detectives in April when they arrested her husband, the former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, in April. 

That operation was accompanied by searches of the couple’s home and the party’s headquarters in Edinburgh. The party's former treasurer Colin Beattie, an SNP MSP, was arrested separately in April. All three figures were released without charge pending further inquiries. Ms Sturgeon later told journalists: "I’m certain that I have done nothing wrong."

READ MORE: The 14 Bills in Humza Yousaf's first Programme for Government

Mr Yousaf has continued to support his predeccessor's membership of the SNP Holyrood group, and since her arrest hailed her as Europe’s “most impressive” politician.

Others however in the party believe she should have been suspended.

Since her arrest Ms Sturgeon has limited her public appearances though she was a guest at shows at last month's Edinburgh Fringe festival.

During a conversation there with broadcaster Iain Dale, Ms Sturgeon said she intended to “see out” the parliamentary term until the 2026 election. 

Last month it also emerged that she is writing a memoir that her publishers, Pan Macmillan, have promised will be “deeply personal and revealing”. 

READ MORE: Poll: Nicola Sturgeon's popularity crashes amid police probe into SNP

She has also appeared as an early witness in the UK Covid inquiry and has reportedly been spending a lot of time concentrating on preparation work for future appearances on different aspects of the pandemic.

However, she has kept a fairly low profile and did not attend the SNP's away day for MPs, MSPs and council leaders in Edinburgh last Friday. 

The former first minister has previously stressed her commitment to reducing child poverty and introduced the new devolved benefit the Scottish Child Payment. It entitles families on low incomes to a weekly payment of £25 for each of their children under 16.

A Scottish Government report in June estimated that 90,000 fewer children will live in relative and absolute poverty this year as a result of the policy and other measures taken by the Scottish Government.

“The report demonstrates that we are preventing children falling into poverty and lifting people out of it.

"This year, 90,000 fewer children will live in poverty as a result of the concerted actions and focus we are providing, including lifting an estimated 50,000 children lifted out of hardship through the Scottish Child Payment," social justice secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said in response to the document's findings.