KATE Forbes has said she would’ve been “constantly haunted” if she had been dishonest about her social conservative views in a bid to become first minister.

The SNP MSP – who is a member of the Free Church of Scotland - revealed early in her leadership campaign that she would have voted against gay marriage and that having children outside of marriage was “wrong” according to her faith.

Forbes was quizzed by journalist Iain Dale and ex-home secretary Jacqui Smith at the Edinburgh Fringe as to whether she regretted being so honest, with Dale insisting he thought Forbes would have beaten Humza Yousaf to the top job had she not been so open about her views.

But she said it was important to be clear about her beliefs right from the off and insisted it would have troubled her greatly had she dodged questions on them.

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Asked if she looked back on the interview and felt she should’ve worded things differently, Forbes said: “I think if I had it would’ve constantly haunted me, if I had won.

“I think the important point in those first few days was to be clear. I’m not so naiive to think these questions wouldn’t emerge, I knew they would, and I thought to prevaricate, to dodge questions, to look slippery, would not be respectful of the electorate.

“And then I’m a democrat. I am very content with the result because I knew that people knew what they were voting for.

“I don’t think I would have been able to sustain [the] first minister [position] knowing that every single time the cameras were in front of me, they were trying to get answers.”

When Dale put to her that she would have won, in his opinion, had she not been so honest, she said: “I’m not sure it’s as clear cut as that, partly because the feedback I got afterwards was overwhelming in saying ‘we disagree with you, fundamentally disagree, with every sinew of our being, but we respect honesty’.

“And if our democracy is built on more authenticity, on more honesty, then we could have proper debates and disagree well.

“I think a fear has crept into our democracy which means that people are not honest and I think the population are sick to their back teeth of thinking that politicians are just saying what is palatable rather than stating their views.”

Forbes stated early on in the interview that she was now a “supportive backbencher” and consistently brushed aside any notion of her running to be SNP leader again in the future.

When an audience member asked if she felt she had “dodged a bullet” by not winning the contest, she said: “Certainly, whenever in the last few months I was returning home from toddler group and hearing FMQs on the radio, I was most delighted by the way things had worked out.

“I think it has been enormously difficult and I think I have not just dodged a bullet but perhaps something more explosive.”