NICOLA Sturgeon has spoken in the Scottish Parliament chamber for the first time since resigning as first minister.

The former SNP leader delivered a warning about the "paralysation" of political action during a debate on her successor Humza Yousaf’s first Programme for Government (PfG).

On Tuesday, Yousaf announced plans to bring forward a total of 14 bills at Holyrood over the next 12 months, including on education, housing, and with the aim of making misogynistic abuse a crime.

On Wednesday afternoon, MSPs at Holyrood debated the PfG.

Taking the floor, Sturgeon said she “enthusiastically commend[ed]” the policies laid out in the document, especially those looking to tackle child poverty and accelerate the transition to greener energy and away from fossil fuels.

The former first minister then went on to speak “not so much on what we do here but on how we do it”, warning that a polarisation of politics had led to a paralysation of action.

Sturgeon said: “Let me say that I accept my share of responsibility for the state of our political discourse. But if anything that makes me more determined to play a part in trying to change it.

“Polarisation in politics is much maligned. It is the paralysis of action it results in that should worry us most.

“So, as we embark on a new term, perhaps we would benefit from some principles to guide us.

“First, a collective recognition that the challenges we face on inequality, climate, sustainable growth demand tough decisions. These are by definition hard, often unpopular, and will meet resistance from those who benefit from the status quo. That’s not an argument for ignoring those voices – but for making sure they don’t become an automatic veto on change that is necessary.

“Second, an acceptance that we can’t just wish for the ends on any policy change, we must also have the means to deliver. We need more mature debate on how we pay for our policies, and also on the powers this Parliament has.

“I want this parliament to be independent and believe it soon will be. But that won’t stop me arguing for a more incremental expansion of our powers along the way. Likewise, those who oppose independence shouldn’t close the door to new powers now that can better help us tackle the challenges we face.

“Finally, disagreement is the essence of democracy. It is part of what makes us human. But it is up to us what dynamic that disagreement creates. Acrimony and stalemate? Or creative tension, based on civility and respect, that allows us to drive improvement for all.

“I hope the coming term is characterised more by the latter than the former. If so Scotland will be the winner.”

Sturgeon has not spoken in the Holyrood chamber since her final appearance as SNP leader at First Minister Questions on March 23.

She did submit a motion in May, celebrating the “vital work that Govanhill Baths carries out” in her Glasgow Southside constituency.

And she appeared in the Scottish parliament in June to speak to the media in the wake of her arrest, questioning, and release amid the police probe into SNP finances.