Nicola Sturgeon has said she is considering becoming a foster mother after she steps down as Scotland’s First Minister, in the first signal that she is thinking of life beyond politics.
In an interview with Vogue magazine on the eve of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, the SNP leader reflected on what she might do after leaving the political stage.
Ms Sturgeon, 51, said she was “passionate” about improving the life chances of children who grow up in care and “post-politics, fostering children may be something we would think about”.
She also said she was keen to write her memoirs “for a period after leaving office”, noting she had been “a participant in all of the big developments” in Scottish politics for 30 years.
However, she brushed off suggestions that she would step down any time soon amid mounting speculation about her successor, and took a swipe at her two immediate predecessors. She said she would not replicate the actions of Alex Salmond by setting up another party or of former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell by entering the House of Lords.
Ms Sturgeon also had another dig at Boris Johnson, speculating that he may leave most of the UK Government’s dealings with her to Michael Gove because of his “fragile male ego.”
Ms Sturgeon succeeded Alex Salmond as First Minister almost seven years ago and will have performed the role for around the same period Margaret Thatcher was prime minister if she continues until the next election.
She married Peter Murrell, the SNP’s chief executive, in 2010 after seven years together. They do not have any children, and in 2011 Ms Sturgeon suffered a miscarriage. When she disclosed that in 2016, she said: “Sometimes, for whatever reason, having a baby just doesn’t happen – no matter how much we might want it to.”
In the new interview, she told Vogue: “I’ve become really involved in, and passionate about, improving the opportunities for young people who grew up in care and in the future, post-politics, fostering children may be something we would think about. It’s something my husband and I have only scratched the surface of talking about.”
She said she “would like to, and think I probably will, for a period after leaving office, write for a while, even if only for therapy and for myself”.
Citing the SNP winning power in 2007 and the 2014 independence referendum, she said: “I’ve been in frontline politics for the best part of 30 years, during one of the most momentous periods in modern Scottish history… I’ll probably want to write all of that down.”
Asked about her working relationship with Mr Johnson, Ms Sturgeon said he took a “different approach to his predecessors” by delegating his government’s interactions to Mr Gove, adding: “Maybe it’s just a bit of a fragile male ego. He seems to have a disinclination to be, metaphorically speaking, in the same room as me. It’s odd.”
Responding to Ms Sturgeon’s comments, Mr Johnson said: “I think all I would say on that is I had a good conversation with Nicola, I think last week, and she has been deployed to help us in all sorts of ways at Cop26 – that’s very important as this is a whole UK effort.”
Asked why he thought she had made the remarks, he said: “Search me, I don’t know.”
Ms Sturgeon also argued that the debate in another independence referendum campaign would be “much more evenly balanced” than in 2014 thanks to the UK’s position being “much more precarious and fragile” following Brexit.