Nicola Sturgeon learns to drive aged 52

Sturgeon during her lessons - James Chapelard
Sturgeon during her lessons - James Chapelard

Nicola Sturgeon has been spotted learning to drive, as she faces increasing pressure to quit the SNP amid warnings that the party is facing financial ruin.

Friend Ricky Bell had previously said the lessons are a signal Ms Sturgeon is preparing for life after being First Minister.

Speaking to the BBC's Nicola Sturgeon Podcast, he said: "Anyone who knows Nicola knows she has been signalling for a wee while she was likely to go.

"And I think the big thing was she said she was taking driving lessons.

"You don't need driving lessons if you are going to be chauffeur driven about as the First Minister."

He added: "She said to me many years ago she didn't want to sit her driving test in case she failed, because up until that point in her life she had never failed an exam."

Ms Sturgeon told the podcast last month that the driving lessons are "in the early stages".

Ms Sturgeon told the podcast the driving lessons are 'in the early stages' - James Chapelard
Ms Sturgeon told the podcast the driving lessons are 'in the early stages' - James Chapelard

The 52-year-old said getting behind the wheel is about "achieving a bit of personal freedom that I have chosen not to have to the same extent" while pursuing a political career.

"It's just part and parcel of the next phase of life," Ms Sturgeon added.

Over the weekend, the former first minister was dragged deeper into the scandal engulfing the nationalists as claims emerged that police were investigating attempts to shut down scrutiny of the SNP’s finances.

It follows the arrest of her husband, Peter Murrell earlier this month. Mr Murrell was released without charge pending further inquiries.

There is a growing expectation inside the SNP that Ms Sturgeon, who planned to remain in Holyrood until at least 2026, will now quit as an MSP “sooner rather than later”.

Humza Yousaf, her successor, is facing demands to suspend her party membership if she refuses to walk away.

The SNP’s treasurer was also arrested as part of the police investigation into the party’s finances.

Colin Beattie, who is also an MSP, is being held in custody and is being questioned by detectives, Police Scotland said this morning.