NICOLA Sturgeon has reignited speculation about her future after repeatedly refusing to say if she will stand for re-election.

Earlier this week, the First Minister tried to kill off rumours that she intends to step down this parliamentary term.

She told the BBC she had a mandate to serve five years and had "no intention of going anywhere right now".

However in an interview with STV as her party's conference gets underway, Ms Sturgeon reacted angrily when asked about her plans for the 2026 election.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon's reaction to being asked about her future by STVNicola Sturgeon's reaction to being asked about her future by STV

The First Minster was asked by STV’s Ewan Petrie: “Do you intend to lead your party into the next election?”

But Ms Sturgeon instead tried to shift the focus back onto her election victory in May.

She said: “I intend to fulfill the mandate I won in the election just seven months ago with a historically high share of the vote.”

The FM added: “I intend to be First Minister for this term of parliament and like most people, I’ll think about the next election when we get closer to the next election.

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“But between now and then, I hope Scotland will have voted to be independent. So, you know, there’s lots of exciting things ahead for Scotland between now and the next election – and I’m looking forward to them with relish.”

But Ms Sturgeon was told she “could just end all the speculation right now”, but instead turned the question back onto the STV presenter, asking Mr Petrie: “What are you going to be doing five years from now?”

HeraldScotland: The First Minister was interviewed by STV ahead of the SNP conferenceThe First Minister was interviewed by STV ahead of the SNP conference

She added that “it’s a preposterous thing” to be asking her, five years before the next Holyrood election.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ll talk about five years from now when we get closer.

”I’ve got a five-year term, (I’m) seven months into a five-year term where I’ve got lots to do. I’ve got a country to lead through a difficult winter on Covid, out of Covid into recovery.

“I hope to give the people of Scotland the chance to choose independence. I hope then to be taking forward the outcome of that.

“There’s exciting, challenging, but exciting times ahead for Scotland, and I’m focused on that.”

Ms Sturgeon then claimed that “I don’t know many people that would sit here and tell you confidently, definitively, what they’re going to be doing five years from now”.

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She said: “But actually, I don’t know many other countries where a First Minister, seven months on from winning a historic election victory with the highest share of the vote ever, is being asked to justify their own tenure in office and how long it’s going to last.

“I was elected. People in Scotland put their trust in me to steer us through the challenges and opportunities of the next five years – that's what I’m going to do.

“The fact that my opponents seem to be incapable of beating me themselves doesn’t mean that they should look to me to do their job for them and somehow remove myself from office – that aint going to happen. “