NICOLA Sturgeon has insisted she will not “cling onto office” when the time comes for her to quit as she “looks forward” to life after politics.

The First Minister raised speculation earlier this month at an Edinburgh Festival Fringe event by admitting she may not lead the SNP into the next election.

Speaking at another festival event today, Ms Sturgeon said that it was her “assumption” that she would still be in charge of her party when the next Holyrood poll is held in 2026.

But she stressed that the process she will go through before the next election will be to assess whether she has “got the energy and the appetite” to continue in her role.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The job I’m doing right now, I am very focused on doing.

“It’s only just more than a year since I got -elected to do this job. There’s big, big challenges…so I’m completely 100 per cent committed to it.

“It’s a tough job but I’m privileged to do it – I’m not thinking about life after that.”

The First Minister told the event that if she was to commit to “absolutely 100 per cent guarantee” she will fight the next election, people would not find that “believable” and she would “be doing a real disservice to the country”.

She said: “This is a massive job, it is a difficult job, it takes its toll on you, it takes its toll on your family – you’re to live with restrictions on your privacy and your freedom and I accept all of that.

“I think the country deserves me at every opportunity where I’m putting myself forward for an election to assess again am I still the best person for this – do I think I’ve got the energy and the appetite to do this.

“That is the process I would go through.”

Turning to when the time is right for her to resign, Ms Sturgeon said she would not desperately hold on and will instead embrace life beyond Holyrood.

She said: “I don’t want to be and I don’t think I will be the kind of politician that clings to office just because you’re terrified of the life beyond it.

“Whenever I stop being First Minister, and I don’t plan not to be anytime soon, I’m going to be relatively young. I look forward to doing other things in the future – it doesn’t phase me.

“In some ways, it’s a good thing and it’s quite healthy to not find yourself so desperate to cling onto office because you can’t think of any alternative.”