Humza Yousaf has denied Nicola Sturgeon will upstage him at the SNP conference today despite predicting she will receive “a lot of love” and “adulation” from delegates.

The former First Minister, whose resignation triggered the most turbulent six months in the SNP’s modern history, is due in Aberdeen at lunchtime.

He said: “I’m delighted. She’s a member and she has every right to be here.”

With the conference programme relatively quiet today, her arrival is expected to create a media scrum and take attention away from her successor’s debut conference as leader.

Ms Sturgeon was arrested and released without charge as part of the long-running probe into the SNP’s finances, and has strongly protested her innocence.

Mr Yousaf yesterday urged his party to ditch her plan for using the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence, calling it a “trap”.

On a tour of conference exhibitors, Mr Yousaf was asked how he felt about his predecessor’s appearance.

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He said: “I’m delighted. She’s a member and she has every right to be here and I'm certain conference will really look forward to seeing her as well.”

Asked if she would upstage her, he laughed: “Any decent questions?”

Pressed on whether her arrival undermined his attempts to move on from the police investigation he said: “Nicola’s a member. She’s led the party for so long.

“She’s going to get a lot of love, quite rightly, and adulation.

“Members will be really excited to see her. I keep in regular touch, as you imagine we would [as] good friends.”

Asked if she was taking attention away from him, he said: “No, she’s not. I really look forward to Nicola being here and I'm sure she'll get lots of love from members and activists.”

Asked if he had talked to her about ditching her independence strategy, he said: “Nicola and I speak regularly.” 

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Asked for his reaction to Scotland qualifying for Euro 2024, he said: “Can I genuinely congratulate Steve Clarke and the boys. I mean, just an unbelievable, stunning run of form.“And as you know, we're hosting and co-hosting 2028, and given our stunning form, I really look forward to defending our title in Euro 2028.”  

Asked for an update on his parents-in-law being trapped in Gaza, he said: “Spoke to them last night, there's been some text message exchange this morning. 

“They're looking at the same news reports that we're looking at, they're hearing speculation the border might open, but I’m afraid nothing has been confirmed yet.

“So they still remain trapped in Gaza. There is still, as we know, an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, but nothing more than what we're watching on the news.”

Scottish Tory chair Craig Hoy said: “By turning up at SNP conference, Nicola Sturgeon must think her poor tribute act that has succeeded her as First Minister simply isn’t cutting it.

“In his first conference as leader, Humza Yousaf was clearly hoping to keep a lid on the bitter in-fighting and scandals that have consumed the SNP in recent months.

“The presence of Nicola Sturgeon threatens to completely upstage him and undermine his attempts to stamp his authority on his divided party.”