MHAIRI Black has said she has not missed Nicola Sturgeon since she quit as first minister, insisting she was always “uncomfortable” with the party’s reliance on her.

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader said Sturgeon’s departure from office had been “quite healthy because I’m a big believer in politics should be about policy as opposed to personality”.

She told Times Radio the “cult of personality” around Sturgeon had been a problem for the SNP.

However, Black – who will not be continuing as an MP beyond the next General Election – said Sturgeon was “certainly one of the best" performing politicians she had ever seen.

Asked in an interview with Matt Chorley if the “cult of personality” around Sturgeon was a problem for the SNP, Black said: “For me personally, yes, it always made me quite uncomfortable. But as I say, I do think she’s certainly one of the best, if not the best, performing politicians that I’ve seen.”

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She said that Sturgeon was a “massive asset” but that more focus should have been given to the wider independence movement.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP added: “There’s a balance to be struck and I’m not convinced that we always got the balance right.”

It comes after Black’s fellow MP Philippa Whitford told The National the SNP should have focused more on succession planning for Sturgeon.

She insisted the leadership contest in 2023 exposed a “weakness” in the party that they had failed to “groom” someone to take the place of Scotland’s longest-serving first minister.

Black went on to say that an ongoing police investigation looked “terrible” for the SNP and that she had “always had my issues with how it’s run or how decisions have been arrived at” within the party.

She added: “So I would say yes, I was aware that there’s things I don’t think that’s right, but of course you’ve got a full-time job in front of you, so you try and influence things when you can.”

Black insisted it was too soon to write off the SNP in the General Election and that independence had not become a more distant prospect.

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Sturgeon's former chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, has said the SNP government should consider a reshuffle ahead of the election expected this year.

When Black announced that she would quit as an MP at the General Election citing a “toxic” working environment at Westminster, Sturgeon tweeted that she hoped the break from frontline politics would be “temporary” and that she would end up as an MSP.

But Black said this would not be the case insisting she had “never set out to have a long career in politics”.

During the interview, Black also insisted some of her SNP colleagues had gotten too comfortable at Westminster.

She said: “I’ve come across ones where I’ve thought, ‘hmmm, you appear slightly more comfortable than I think you should be’.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Black described First Minister Humza Yousaf as “caring” and Angus Robertson, the Scottish Government’s Constitution Secretary, as a “showman”.