THE former leader of Plaid Cymru has invited Nicola Sturgeon to take “some time out of the rat race” and visit Wales when she steps down as First Minister.

Sturgeon announced she would be resigning after more than eight years in office although she will remain until her successor is appointed.

Leanne Wood, who led Plaid Cymru from 2012 to 2018, said she invited Sturgeon to take some time for “walking on our mountains or across our beaches” and that they had both “supported each other” at different times.

She told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement: “Hopefully, she’ll be able to take some time for herself, some time for self-care, some time out of the rat race.

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“I’ll be around if she wants to take up my offer on that and she’s already responded quite positively.”

Wood was the first woman to lead Plaid Cymru, a party which campaigns for Welsh independence.

She continued: “Leadership can be quite a lonely place. The buck stops with you and you alone.

“You have to take decisions sometimes on your own, despite advice and support. That can be difficult and we’ve both supported each other through that at different times.”

Wood now serves a member of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales and said that she may work with Sturgeon in the future.

“I’m sure there’ll be maybe pieces of work that we’ll do together. We’ve started exploring some of that.

“I’m not in a position to reveal what at this stage but… we go back a long way and I’m sure we’ll go into the future a long way too.”

The race to replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister is well underway with both Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan declaring their intention to run on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Keith Brown, Neil Gray and Màiri McAllan ruled themselves out despite being tipped as potential contenders.

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Scotland’s Business Minister Ivan McKee told BBC Radio Scotland that it was his understanding Kate Forbes would be making an announcement on her intentions later on Monday.

He has already given her his backing should she choose to run.

“I think Kate is a hugely talented individual, I’ve had the pleasure of working with her over the past seven years and seen first-hand what she is able to deliver, her focus on the things that are important to Scotland and her ability to engage with people on a very real and authentic level and persuade them of her case”, he said.