JOANNA Cherry has revealed she does not want to be leader of the SNP and would like to tell Nicola Sturgeon she is not her enemy.

She also hinted about leaving politics ahead of the next General Election in 2024 citing sustained abuse from within her party.

In an in-depth interview broadcast today, the MP for Edinburgh South West revealed she had had no communication with the First Minister since a former party member was charged after a threat was allegedly sent to Cherry on the same day she was axed last week from the party’s Westminster frontbench.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry in 'pole position' to challenge Nicola Sturgeon for SNP leadership

Cherry, a QC, was dismissed as the party's justice and home affairs spokeswoman in a reshuffle which sparked a backlash among her supporters in the SNP and exposed deep divisions in the party over three issues – the independence strategy, the reform of the Gender Recognition Act and the Alex Salmond saga.

Asked if she would appreciate a call from the First Minister, Cherry told Holyrood magazine's Politically Speaking podcast: "I think any Member of Parliament who has been on the receiving end of a campaign of abuse culminating in a threat from party members would appreciate a call from their party leader."

Pressed on what she would like to say to Sturgeon, Cherry added: "I would like to say that I am not her enemy, that I have no intention of challenging her for the leadership.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry compares her sacking from SNP frontbench to 'Salem witch trials'

"She like me is a feminist, so I would like her to call out the abuse I have received and condemn the fact that this abuse and some threats are coming from within the party."

After her dismissal last week her allies told The National the move could put her in 'pole position' to challenge Sturgeon should she have to step down amid the Salmond inquiry.

The First Minister has been accused of misleading parliament over claims relating to the case - an allegation which could mean having to resign. She has strongly denied the claim.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry: Holyrood should hold indyref2 if Boris Johnson blocks new vote

Earlier in the interview Cherry aid she didn't want to be the SNP leader as she hinted at leaving politics and returning to her career as an advocate.

She referred to her successful work challenging the UK Government with the Article 50 case – resulting in a European ruling that the UK could unilaterally revoke Article 50 to stop leaving the EU – and the fight she spearheaded against the Prime Minister's attempt to prorogue Parliament.

"I've defeated the British Government twice," she said.

"And because of that there has been a lot of speculation about whether I might be a future leader of the SNP and I think that has brought a lot of trouble and difficulties my way."

She later added: "I'll say this for the record: I don't want to be the leader of the SNP. I am having to think very seriously at my future at present. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon outlines 'Plan B' to European newspaper readers

"At the moment I am elected as a Member of Parliament to Westminster and I am there to represent my constituents and I will do that for the rest of my term.

"But as to what I do thereafter it will depend on whether the party is able to address the problems that currently exist.

READ MORE: Scottish independence: Inside story of the week that rocked the SNP

"Many of my colleagues in the legal profession are deeply shocked by my treatment in the SNP and are suggesting to me that I should go back to the bar because I'm well respected there and I could work there again.

"It is an option I have to consider. But I want to serve my country and I want to help my country get independence."

She also revealed that she had been tipped her off about her sacking before she was told by the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford on Monday last week.

"Ian didn't inform me that I was leaving the frontbench until 30 minutes before he informed other people including the public.

"Fortunately for me, I had a tip off so I was able to prepare myself and it wasn't the nasty surprise that was presumably planned.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry's sacking was wrong, says SNP's former PR chief

"But the reasons for my removal from the front bench have not been made clear to me. I don't think anyone could argue I wasn't doing a good job as the justice and home affairs spokesperson."

During the interview she said she would not have entered frontline politics had she known the level of abuse and intimidation she would receive.

She said that had she known the amount of abuse she would receive, she would not have entered frontline politics and now has to consider her future.

She said: “I am a pretty strong person. I have a loving family, a loving girlfriend and some fantastic staff who work for me and a lot of support within the party. I think somebody who didn’t have that would probably have cracked up under the strain I’ve been put under. 

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill leads backlash against SNP sacking of Joanna Cherry

“Had I known the level of abuse and threats I would receive from within my own party, and the repeated briefing against me and attempts to smear me from within my own party, without the sort of support I would’ve expected from the leadership, then I would not have stood to be a candidate.

“I don’t regret standing because I care passionately about the cause, but had I known what I was going to go through, I wouldn’t have stood. I know for a fact, because woman write to me and email me, that looking at what’s happened to me is putting women off entering politics.”

Cherry said the febrile debate within the party over changes to the Gender Recognition Act and allegations of transphobia directed at her had put her at risk.

She said: “I have a friendship with a trans woman dating back to the days when I first came out as a lesbian on the scene in Edinburgh in the 1980s. One of my most loyal and hard-working activists is a trans woman. I am not transphobic.

“The people who are propagating the idea that I’m transphobic are not only being unfair to me, they’re actually putting me in danger because of the level of abuse I’ve received, which included a death threat in 2019 and in the last week has included a series of very scary and frightening messages which have led to a man being arrested and charged with a serious offence.

"I can’t comment on that too much at the moment. I can’t tell you who the man was, but I can tell you he was a party member.”

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry hits out at 'double standards' and accuses SNP of Stalinism

Asked about accusations that she is being disloyal by simply talking about these issues, Cherry said she had no choice.

“It's a catch 22 and I don't really know what I'm supposed to do,” she said. “Am I just supposed to shut up and take it for the sake of the party? Ignore the fact that a party member has made serious threats against me, including sexual violence for the sake of the party? Is that what's being suggested?”