Nicola Sturgeon was referred to as “first minister” as she made her first Holyrood speech since quitting the top job earlier this year.
Sturgeon left Bute House in March after making the shock announcement of her resignation the previous month.
In her first speech from the backbenches – during which deputy presiding officer Annabelle Ewing used her previous title of first minister – the Glasgow Southside MSP gave her backing to her successor’s first Programme for Government.
Sturgeon said “I enthusiastically commend it”, referring to Humza Yousaf’s legislative agenda, saying it “strikes a good, the right, balance between building on progress and breaking new ground”.
She welcomed Yousaf’s plans to expand childcare and his wider approach to tackling poverty.
Concluding her first contribution from the backbenches on Wednesday, Sturgeon opined on the state of political discourse, saying she accepts “my share of responsibility for the state” of it.
“If anything, though, that makes me determined to play a part in trying to change it,” she added.
“Polarisation in politics is much maligned, it is the paralysis of action that it can result in, though, that should worry us most.
“So perhaps we need to, as we embark on a new term, have some principles in mind to guide us.”
MSPs should collectively recognise that the challenges the country faces “require tough decisions”, there should be more “mature debate” about how policies are funded and the powers Holyrood has to deliver them and whether disagreements lead to “acrimony and stalemate, or creative tension to drive improvement for all”, Sturgeon said.
Since leaving Bute House, Sturgeon, her husband and former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell and former treasurer Colin Beattie have been arrested in connection with the probe into the party’s finances.
All three were released without charge, pending further investigation.