SCOTTISH finance secretary Kate Forbes has described how entering politics left her feeling hated for the first time.

The minister, who was unexpectedly promoted to one of the most powerful jobs in government last month after the resignation of Derek Mackay told a seminar at Perth Baptist Church that she had learnt to be “absolutely diligent” in not believing what other people say about her.

Forbes, a member of the Free Church of Scotland also talked about her faith, described her Christianity as her “anchor and frame of reference”.

She told the seminar: “Being involved in politics was the first time that I knew what it felt like to be hated. Before, maybe people fall out with you slightly, but in politics people don’t see the person, they see the label”, she said.

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On the day she got the job she had been reading the Bible: “That morning, I had been reading in Matthew the story of Peter walking on water. When Peter sees the wind and the waves, he’s afraid. I’m afraid, but the answer of course is, ‘O ye of little faith, why do you doubt?’

“In politics there’s lots of wind and lots of waves, and if you look at the environment that you’re in, there’s much reason to fear. There’s a lot of vitriol. It’s very angry place.”

She added: “There used to be a day when I would respect you as a human being, then have fun disagreeing or arguing with you or debating your views. Now [it’s] ‘if I don’t like your views, I hate you, and I will let you know that I hate you’.

“That’s undermined the quality of our debate.”