SNP MSPs have praised Nicola Sturgeon after she became the longest-serving First Minister on Wednesday. 

Sturgeon - who was the first woman to take up the post - has now been in office for seven years, six months and five days, overtaking her predecessor Alex Salmond.

During that time she has been through Brexit and a global pandemic and is now setting her sights on a second independence referendum. 

Christina McKelvie, SNP Minister for Equalities and Older People, said she believes Sturgeon's "honesty" is what has led to her longevity and praised her strength throughout the Covid crisis.

The Hamilton, Stonehouse and Larkhall MSP said: "It’s a real testament to her resilience. Obviously, the past seven years have not been easy, there’s been lots of challenges and a couple of elections which she’s won overwhelmingly.

"With the pandemic, she just showed so much resilience and strength and people really needed that through the pandemic. We needed to see that.

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"She stood and answers questioned for an hour every day.

"It’s been a rough seven years but we have had superb elections and we're looking to the future for Scotland.

"I think Nicola is very honest and that’s what has made her stand the test of time. She would always say what she knew and what she thought during the pandemic and it’s what people needed."

The National: Christina McKelvieChristina McKelvie

The SNP's Emma Roddick, Holyrood's youngest MSP, said Strugeon was "incredible" and her ideas remained fresh despite being in office for long. 

She added: "To do her job for as long as she has and still come out with really fresh ideas is just incredible. Even after all this time, I hear her talk about equalities and women’s safety and I just think it’s incredible.

"She’s got principles and she sticks to them. She stuck to them when the SNP were not in power and she sticks to them now and I think that is why she has lasted. You see other leaders sort of change with the wind but she hasn’t."

During her time in office, the SNP took 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in the 2015 General Election which began a period of sustained electoral success for the party.

Her achievement was described by her deputy John Swinney as "landmark" and he pledged work for independence is being "stepped up".