AFTER 3,046 days of committed leadership serving this country, Nicola Sturgeon answered First Minister’s Questions one last time and I had the chance to ask her about measures to fight poverty.

Although East Lothian is a wealthy county – and congratulations to East Linton on being named one of Scotland’s best places to live – the scourge of poverty persists.

A recent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis showed, however, that this Government’s progressive tax and benefits make Scotland’s lowest-income families significantly better off by around £2,000.

I asked the First Minister how much further our country could go in eradicating poverty if we weren’t undermined by UK Government policies.

Expressing her thanks, Ms Sturgeon noted the IFS finding that her Government “has made a distributional choice... to channel money towards low-income families with children in particular”. Indeed, she said that the single thing that made her proudest as First Minister was helping to lift children out of poverty while the UK Government’s welfare system pushed them into deprivation.

Drawing her leadership to a close, she recognised Winnie Ewing’s call to “stop the world, Scotland wants to get on” was already being achieved; respected globally, Scotland “punches above its weight” internationally. She urged us to have more confidence in ourselves.

Paying tribute on behalf of the SNP, Emma Roddick MSP highlighted Nicola’s impact on “the people she lifted as she climbed”: women, girls, marginalised groups, the disadvantaged, care-experienced young people, volunteers, all those doing their best for this country. Their aspirations are now entrusted to Humza Yousaf, with Nicola’s advice that “it’s better to aim high, and fall short, than not try”.

Praising the “love, care and solidarity” with which people in Scotland faced the pandemic, she made plain a moral gulf dividing her principled leadership from a deluded UK Prime Minister’s sense of entitlement.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Boris Johnson insisted it was “essential” he attended non-socially-distanced, alcohol-fuelled ‘leaving parties’ even as the population, including the Queen, were obeying restrictive conditions for loved ones’ final farewells and funerals. Self-centred ambition characterises Johnson’s failure as an out-of-touch and fundamentally dishonest politician who fooled many – but not the people of Scotland.