SNP refuse to confirm if Nicola Sturgeon deleted Covid pandemic WhatsApp messages
It comes after the UK Covid-19 inquiry said the “majority” of messages within 137 different groups and involving around 70 witnesses connected to the Scottish Government’s pandemic response have been deleted.
A party spokesperson said the former SNP leader recently submitted a fresh 200-page statement, her third, to the inquiry and will “provide all information requested”.
Ms Sturgeon is known to have used WhatsApp in the past. Her private messages with former first minister Alex Salmond were released to the Holyrood inquiry investigating the Government’s handling of harassment complaints against him.
The Scotsman revealed in November last year that six ministers used WhatsApp for government business in 2022, including the-then health secretary, Humza Yousaf. The former first minister’s name did not appear on that list.
Asked specifically whether Ms Sturgeon, former deputy first minister John Swinney, and SNP president and former constitution secretary Michael Russell used WhatsApp during the pandemic period to discuss anything linked to Covid-19 with ministers or other officials, the party did not respond substantively.
Asked whether any of the three individuals deleted any or all WhatsApp messages of this type, a spokesperson said: “There has never been any hesitation by former members of the Scottish Government to provide any and all information they hold, when appropriately and legally requested by the UK and Scottish inquiries, and they will continue to cooperate fully. It would not appropriate to comment further.”
A spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon added: “Nicola will continue to provide all information requested by the inquiry that she holds and will continue to cooperate fully with both the UK and Scottish Covid inquiries. She has recently submitted her third written statement to the UK inquiry - running to around 200 pages - and expects to give oral evidence again next year when she will answer all questions put to her.”
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