Mhairi Black has said she has "not missed" Nicola Sturgeon since her resignation as First Minister despite her former boss being a "massive asset" to the SNP.

Ms Black, the party's deputy leader at Westminster, said she had been "uncomfortable" with the nationalists' reliance on the "cult of personality" around the former party leader.

During an interview with Matt Chorley for Times Radio, she described Ms Sturgeon's shock departure from office as "quite healthy", saying it gave the party a chance to focus more on policy and less on personality.

The wide-ranging interview, timed as Mhairi Black prepares to stand down from her role as an MP at the forthcoming general election, also saw her describe her colleagues Humza Yousaf as "caring", Angus Robertson as "a showman", Ian Blackford "consistent" and Ms Sturgeon as "impressive".

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For her Westminster boss Stephen Flynn, with his smooth pate, she merely had the word "baldy".

Ms Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, said, of the "cult of personality" around Nicola Sturgeon: "It always made me quite uncomfortable.

"But as I say, I do think she’s certainly one of the best, if not the best, performing politicians that I’ve seen."

When Mr Chorley said: "Do you miss her?" Ms Black replied, "Who?"

She then went on to say the former FM would have "a part to play" in the party "in future years" but that more focus should have been on the independence movement and less on Ms Sturgeon, saying the SNP did not "always get the balance right".

Following Ms Sturgeon's shock resignation announcement last winter, details of the Police Scotland investigation into SNP finances emerged.

The Herald:

Operation Branchform, Ms Black told the podcast, looks "terrible" for the party.

She added: "I was aware that there’s things I don’t think that’s right, but of course you’ve got a full-time job in front of you, so you try and influence things when you can."

However, she said it was unwise to write the SNP off at the general election and insisted that independence is still a live topic.

The MP, known for her colourful turns of phrases and stance on issues such as gender reform and equal pension rights for WASPI women, announced her intention to stand down citing the "toxic" atmosphere at Westminster.

She said at the time: “Honestly, because I’m tired, is a big part of it. And the thing that makes me tired is Westminster.

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“I think it is one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in. It’s a toxic environment. Just the entire design of the place and how it functions is just the opposite of everything that I find comfortable.

“It’s definitely a poisonous place. Whether that’s because of what folk can get away with in it or the number of personal motivations and folk having ulterior motives for things, and it’s just not a nice place to be in.”

Ms Black emphasised that a return to frontline politics would be unlikely, saying she had not set out to have a long career in politics.

She told Mr Chorley the 24-hour nature of the House of Commons, alongside the backstage skullduggery of Westminster, made those who become involved "not normal anymore".

She added: “You start losing touch with reality and with what everyday people are experiencing and living through and what they think."