Nicola Sturgeon: 'The SNP is not in a mess'
Nicola Sturgeon has denied that the SNP is "in a mess" during an interview on Loose Women.
The party's Mike Russell told The Sunday Show there is "a tremendous mess we have to clear up" as a result of the party's leadership race and the departure of Sturgeon's husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.
But appearing on the ITV chat show, Sturgeon said: "The SNP's not in a mess, it's going through - how can I put this - some growing pains right now. They are necessary but they're difficult, but you know, I'm stepping down from a party that hasn't lost an election since 2010 in Scotland."
She went on: "Usually parties go through a process like this when they've been kicked out by the voters. That's not the position the SNP is in and I've won, or my party rather has won, eight elections in my eight years as leader so we're actually in a quite strong position."
Sturgeon said the SNP must change without "losing the things that have made us so successful".
On Murrell's resignation, which took place on Saturday amidst a row over membership numbers, she said he had "rightly" taken responsibility for denials that 30,000 people had left the party.
She said: "We mishandled that situation. We were asked a specific question, not about you know, what's the size of your membership, but 'have you lost 30,000 members because of x and y?' and we answered in that sense. We should have framed it in a bigger way. So these things are all opportunities to learn and to reflect."
Sturgeon also said Jacinda Ardern's resignation had influenced her decision. At the time the New Zealand premier stepped down, Sturgeon said she had "plenty in the tank".
However, today she said: "I've probably been coming to the decision subconsciously for quite a while, certainly maybe from the tail end of last year.
"I remember watching the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern making her statement and I remember thinking, 'I wish that was me'. And I think that's when it came from the subconscious to the conscious. I then realised that was the right time for me.
"But then you go through that process of, 'am I letting other people down, is it wrong for my party or the country?' and it took me a bit longer to decide. Actually, I think it's the right time for everybody.
"There is such a thing as being in frontline leadership politics for too long."