NICOLA Sturgeon says it’s “bonkers” to question her commitment to Scottish independence.

The First Minister hit back at critics who have urged her to take a more aggressive approach to securing the nation’s sovereignty.

The SNP leader also said Yessers could be "safely assured" there will be an explicit commitment to a second referendum in the SNP's 2021 Holyrood manifesto.

“I’ve spent my entire adult life campaigning for Scottish independence," the FM told BBC Scotland. "I believe in Scottish independence with every fibre of my being. And I also believe that Scotland is going to be independent sooner rather than later and, you know, and I'm also the SNP leader that now presides over record support for the Scottish independence.

“Let's just see I'm pretty comfortable in my own commitment to independence and other people can question if they want but I think it's I think it's bonkers.”

Recently, the SNP has been caught up in internal feuding over recent decisions made by the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Yesterday, SNP councillor Chris McEleny called for the party’s national secretary to quit, claiming candidate selections have caused “great injury to the party”.

READ MORE: Councillor calls on SNP national secretary to resign amid NEC row

Sturgeon addressed friction within the party, warning infighting could risk disillusioning voters ahead of next year’s election. She emphasised the SNP’s position of strength and urged colleagues to keep in mind what matters most to voters during the crisis.

“The SNP right now is in a position of strength that parties the world over would love to be in," the FM said. "We've got [to] as a party to recognise that we don't exist in some kind of bubble.

“We are the governing party of Scotland. Right now, the majority of people in the country we serve are worried about their health, they're worried about the jobs, they're worried about the ability to pay the bills. Opinion polls would suggest the massively trust the SNP to lead them through that crisis. If they ever thought the SNP was turning away from that priority, and focusing on its own, you know, agendas and engaging in infighting I'm sure they would pass a verdict on that.

“So what I would say to my party is we’re in a very strong position. We've earned that strong position and if we keep doing right by the people of Scotland as we have done, and keep steering them in the right direction then we will continue to see, I think, growing support both for the party but also for that objective that we all believe in so strongly in which is Scotland becoming an independent country."

READ MORE: Support for Scottish independence skyrockets in latest Panelbase poll

Sturgeon added: “But focus on what matters to people out there. And don't ever get into the trap of focusing on our own preoccupations. That's not a description of independence, obviously, but just, you know, internal disputes or feuds or personality clashes nothing I think disillusions a little bit more than that.”

According to Panelbase polling carried out last month for the Sunday Times, 54% of Scots support a Yes vote when don't knows are removed. 

The survey also found the SNP are on track for a landslide victory in the 2021 Hoylrood ballot.

Last month, a new Alliance for Independence party was formed under the slogan "Max the Yes", with Sturgeon previously saying she wants the SNP "united" before next year's vote.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry also performed a U-turn in her decision to run for Holyrood in 2021 – barring a change in circumstances – blaming a "particularly unreasonable" demand from the party.

The National:

The FM warned the party should not "ever get into the trap of focusing on our own preoccupations" such as "internal disputes or feuds or personality clashes".

She added: "This was not about excluding one person. This is a decision the NEC took which was not about barring a Westminster MP standing for Holyrood but saying that if you were selected as a Holyrood candidate then in enough time before the election, you have to demit your Westminster seat in order to allow the by-election to be on the same day as the Holyrood election.

"The NEC I think wanted to guard against the possibility of lots of Westminster MPs deciding to stand and then create a whole slew of by-elections.

"It's not an illegitimate decision for the NEC to have taken, I appreciate that people will see in the context of other things, but that's the decision they took."