Sturgeon speaks about bullying and Bake Off in special question time show

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Nicola Sturgeon has opened up about homework, her inability to use a cooker and which reality TV programme she would opt to go on.

The First Minister was also quizzed on the new, reduced-sugar recipe for the famous Scottish soft drink Irn Bru and told how she was bullied during her schooldays.

Speaking on a special First Minister’s Question Time Next Generation programme for young people, the SNP leader said: “Yes, I went through periods at school of being bullied.

“I wouldn’t say it ever got to a really serious level that made me unable to go to school or scared to go to school.

“But I had experiences in primary school where it certainly was sufficient at one stage to involve a teacher.”

She added: “Many people will have those experiences and what is good (is) to be able to be open about them, and to come forward about them.”

During the question time event, broadcast on STV’s current affairs programme Scotland Tonight, the First Minister reiterated she would not stand in the way of a second vote on leaving the European Union.

But she was clear she “would like to be convinced that if there was going to be a second vote Scotland would have an assurance that we don’t just end up in the same position all over again”.

She stated: “The big question for Scotland though, if there was to be another vote on EU membership, is how do we make sure that we don’t end up in the same situation again where Scotland votes one way but because the rest of the UK votes another way, we effectively end up being taken in a direction against our will.”

One audience member asked why she had had to wait seven months to get specialist treatment for a chronic skin condition, with the First Minister saying: “You shouldn’t have had to wait that length of time.”

But many of the questions posed by the young people were more light-hearted, with Ms Sturgeon asked about her favourite animal and reality TV programmes.

She told the audience she was a “little bit scared of dogs”, so her favourite animal was the cat, although she added she did not have one as a pet.

“I’m away from home too much,” she said.

“It would be unfair for me to have a cat, it would not get fed.”

Questioned on which reality TV show she would appear on, she ruled out appearing on the Great British Bake Off, saying she could not bake, and also said that as she had “two left feet” she did not know if Strictly Come Dancing “would be right for me”.

But she stated: “When I was younger I used to do ice skating quite a lot, so the Dancing On Ice one, I think I quite fancy that.”

She insisted that “I don’t think you can taste the difference” between the original-recipe Irn Bru and its replacement – adding she had discussed this with the chief executive of its manufacturer AG Barr.

Asked if more life skills should be taught at school, she said the Scottish Government would listen to the views of young people on this, but added: “Being able to work a cooker is one of these life skills I missed out on when I was younger.”

And questioned by one youngster on why children receive so much homework, she said that “getting the balance right is never an easy task”.

The First Minister told the audience: “I’m going to sound really old here by giving you all advice about homework – I should say it is advice I never followed when I was at school – but if you have got homework, do it when you get home so it is out the way and then you can spend the rest of the evening doing things you enjoy.”

Ms Sturgeon also spoke about a possible future career after politics, saying when she was younger being a children’s author had been one of her dream jobs.

She said: “When I was a child I either wanted to be a lawyer, which I went on to do, or I wanted to write children’s books, which I’ve not done yet, so who knows, maybe in the future. Those were my dream jobs when I was a child.”

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