NICOLA Sturgeon has said she has no plans to step down as First Minister anytime soon, but admitted that if she was to lose a second independence referendum, she would likely “make way” for someone else. 

In a frank interview with ITV’s Loose Women, the SNP leader also said she looked forward to “having a more private life at some stage”.

She also denied her “momentary lapse” last weekend when she entered a barber in East Kilbride with no facemask, was equivalent to Boris Johnson being given a Fixed Penalty Notice for attending a party in Downing Street.

The First Minister told the panel: “With Boris, it's the serial breaches at a time when the rest of the country was in very, very strict lockdown, but it's also, to be blunt about it, when this all first came to light, he was not honest about it, and he wasn't honest in the House of Commons.”

She said it was right that she got a harder time for breaching the rules, but, she added, “is that the same as having I think six parties at the strictest part of lockdown, presiding over what seems to be a culture of rule-breaking in Downing Street, and then not telling the truth to Parliament? People can make their own judgement about that. I don't think these things are equivalent.”

Ms Strurgeon was on the programme to discuss the show’s Menopause Manifesto which calls for more support for those going through the menopause.

The First Minister has spoken before about being in the “foothills” of the menopause.

She told the panel: “I feel quite nervous about it as well. It's not the kind of thing I feel instinctively comfortable talking about.” 

Asked why that was, she said: “I think because it is so intensely personal and I think that there's still a lot of stigma around it and so even for people like me, who have got a platform and who knows how important it is to talk about it, I still feel uncomfortable.

“I've been quite anxious about it, given the public nature of my job, how am I going to cope with the impact of that? What, what's it going to mean?”

Gloria Hunniford asked Ms Sturgeon: “Do you mean if you have a hot flush one day in the middle of a big debate?”

“Exactly. It hasn't happened so far, but it may well. It suddenly struck me that there is nobody - there haven't been that many women in very senior positions of politics - but there's nobody I know of that I can go and read what it was like for them. 

“It suddenly struck me if I could go and read Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton saying this is what it was like for me and how I coped with it, I think that would help me right now. 

“So I suppose I feel a responsibility for the next generation of women who are going to be doing the kind of job I'm doing, to give them somebody that they can go and read and say, ‘well, this is what it was like.’”

The First Minister was also asked about previous comments where she said she and husband Peter Murrell could foster children after she stands down. 

Ms Sturgeon said it had come about because of her work with care experienced young people.

“I've seen the transformational effects that good foster care, good care generally can have on a young person's life.”

However, she added, “you have to do something like that absolutely for the right reasons. And one of the things I feel very strongly about is that you shouldn't do it to sort of fill a gap in your own life? It should be about the young person. 

“So I wouldn't want to do it just because I don't have children of my own. It would only be if I genuinely thought I could offer something to a young person. So it's for the future, but it's something that we have thought about and talked about, in very initial terms at this stage.”

The show’s hosts then asked Ms Sturgeon about the toll the job had taken on her and how long she thought she had left in politics. 

“The job I do is a huge privilege and nobody makes me do it. So I don't think people want to hear politicians moaning about how tough their life is. We do this voluntarily. And it's a big responsibility. And I've had the opportunity to meet people, go places and do things that I would never have had the opportunity to do before. But there's no doubt it's a tough environment

“And it's much tougher now than it was when I was starting out in politics. You'll all know this. Social media is a horrible toxic environment, you are subjected to vicious abuse, and I know talking to young women now that is a lot more hesitation about being in public life of any description than there used to be. 

“It does take its toll. I try to tune it all out and ignore it. But it does take its toll. I suppose for anybody in a position like mine and before I say this for the Scottish journalists watching I am not suggesting I'm about to stop being First Minister, but I suppose part of what you think about is just having a more private life at some stage and if not a quieter life.”

Asked how long she had left in politics, the First Minister said: “I got reelected last year. So I've got four years of this term remaining. Look, I will continue to do the job obviously, for as long as I feel I'm the best person to do the job and more importantly, as long as the people of Scotland think I'm the best person to do the job.”

Asked if she would stand down if she lost the next independence referendum, the First Minister said she wouldn’t engage with hypotheticals.

“I think when Scotland next votes on independence it will vote yes, she said.”

Pushed on the questions, the First Minister said: “I suspect I would make way for somebody else but I'm not contemplating that at the moment. I'm in the fortunate position of you know, having been in politics for a long time, I'm not about to give it up. But when I do, I hopefully will still be relatively young and therefore I do look forward to the possibility of doing other things later in life.”