After a stop start year and some ‘car crash politics’, former first minister Nicola Sturgeon has  passed her driving test.

She began learning to drive in March this year, passing on her first attempt, aged 53.

It was one of a her first positive headline moves after stepping down as First Minister and leader of the SNP.

Age no barrier

Posting the news on Instagram, the MSP for Glasgow Southside said this proved it was “never too late in life to do something new”.

Ms Sturgeon said she had not made time to learn when she was younger as she was focused on politics. After a hugely successful career, with a large chunk of it meaning she had chauffeured transport, more time and her focus on independence meant she took her seat behind the wheel.

She wrote: “So this happened today – at the tender age of 53, I passed my driving test (first time!)

“I couldn’t have done it without my brilliant instructor, Andy MacFarlane of Caledonian Learner Driver Training.

“It was really important to me, as a 53-year-old former FM, not just to have an excellent teacher but someone I could trust and feel comfortable with – Andy was all of that and more.”

Driving independence

In a BBC interview earlier in the year, the former first minister said learning to drive would give her more freedom after her years as SNP leader.

But it has been a turbulent few months, which will have done nothing to help her concentrate on the road.

She returned to the Scottish Parliament in June after being arrested – and released without charge – as part of an investigation into SNP finances.

The SNP has continued to be dogged by financial issues, falling support and financial investigations by the police. Her husband, Peter Tierney Murrell, is the former chief executive of the Scottish National Party, and was also arrested and released without charge pending further inquiries.

In the driving seat

As well as learning to drive, Ms Sturgeon has also been writing a memoir covering her proudest achievements and regrets from her time in politics.

In September, she made a speech in Holyrood in which she backed successor Humza Yousaf’s plan to tackle child poverty.

She has also given her full backing to the SNP’s new independence strategy.