Nicola Sturgeon made an entrance at the SNP conference to applause, hugs and selfies as though she was still the party leader.

Sturgeon arrived during the lunch break on day two of the SNP conference in Aberdeen a day after the party voted to abandon her policy of fighting the next General Election as a ‘de-facto’ referendum.

Humza Yousaf and Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, put their new plan to the members who accepted it overwhelmingly.

READ NEXT:SNP conference backs Humza Yousaf's independence strategy

As Yousaf looks to carve out leadership in his own style, his predecessor showed she is still a huge draw among members and one of the biggest names in the SNP.

As she made her way through the conference centre Sturgeon was met with a large waiting media.

The former party leader of almost 10 years was then stopped for selfies, which became her trademark in public over her term as First Minster and greeted warmly by members and colleagues before entering the hall to take her seat.

Glasgow Times:

She said Humza Yousaf had her support as First Minister going into the next General Election.

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Sturgeon said: “I look forward to supporting the SNP’s future electoral success.

“I think the atmosphere seems absolutely fantastic.

“The SNP has been in government for the best part of 20 years. We’ve always been on the side of people who aspire to a better life, standing up for people who are marginalised, standing up to vested interests and for Scotland.”

At the conference the day before, Joanna Cherry MP had said the SNP under Humza Yousaf had opened up debate in the SNP.

On debate in the party, Sturgeon said: “The SNP is a democracy, always has been and has been able and willing to debate things.

“That’s always been the case and always will be the case.”

Sturgeon was flanked by former Westminster leader, Ian Blackford and current Scottish Government ministers Jenny Gilruth, Shirley-Anne Somerville and Mairi McAllan.

She also defended her own time as leader.

Sturgeon said: “I’ve always been someone that takes criticism on board and argued my case. I’ll continue to argue my case.

“My record as SNP leader speaks for itself, it is for other people to judge that.”

Before delivering his speech to the conference, Keith Brown deputy SNP leader paid tribute to Sturgeon's contribution to the SNP.

Glasgow Times:

He invited the delegates in the hall to “thank Nicola for leading the country for 10 years".

The Glasgow Southside MSP resigned as First Minister and SNP leader in March this year and in the months that followed faced arrest and questioning in an ongoing police investigation in the party finances.

Peter Murrell, former SNP chief executive, and Colin Beattie, former treasurer were also arrested separately.

All three were released without charges being brought and the investigation continues.