SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tells how her Sunderland grandmother inspired her thoughts on Scottish independence

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

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The most powerful woman in Scotland has told how her Sunderland grandmother was a great inspiration in her quest for independence.

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon revealed earlier this year how her grandmother Margaret was an English woman, from Sunderland, and how she wanted to strengthen links between Scotland and the North East.

Now Ms Sturgeon has told how her grandmother had inspired her in her campaign for Scottish independence.

"My grandmother was English and she was a big nationalist. She was an SNP supporter - and my childhood wasn't full of politics.

"I suppose she's one of the reasons why my nationalism has never really been about identity or driven by a belief that you have to be a pure-bred Scot to support independence for Scotland, because she came from just outside Sunderland in the North of England and she had the belief that Scotland should be an independent country.

“So I detested that sense that some how what we were arguing for was a rejection of England as a country or England as a people.”

Ms Sturgeon was speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island discs programme, and made the comments when being interviewed by the show's host Kirsty Young, a fellow Scot.

Ms Young put it to the the SNP leader that people from elsewhere in the United Kingdom didn't like the idea of Scotland wanting to break away.

Nicola Sturgeon's Sunderland roots:

Her great-grandfather, shipwright Joseph Mill, was born in Arthur Street, Ryhope, in 1920.

Margaret Sturgeon (whose maiden name was Mill) married Robert Sturgeon, a gardener from Ayr, at St Paul's Parish Church, just around the corner from Arthur Street in 1943.

She went on to become the grandmother of the SNP leader and the family would eventually move back to the south west of Scotland, where the now-first minister was born in 1970.