WhatsApp messages sent by Nicola Sturgeon in relation to the Covid pandemic were manually deleted from her phone, it has been reported.
The former first minister is among 70 Scottish Government figures whose communications during the course of the pandemic were not retained.
The reports came from the Sunday Mail newspaper.
Others who say their data no longer exists include current First Minister Humza Yousaf and former deputy first minister John Swinney.
It means these messages cannot be given to the UK or Scottish Covid inquiries into how the pandemic was handled.
In response to the Sunday Mail’s reporting, a spokesperson for Sturgeon said: ““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.”
It comes after it was revealed earlier this week that the Scottish Government had not handed over any WhatsApp messages to the UK Covid Inquiry.
Lawyers for the Scottish Government said the messaging platform was not used for major decisions and, if it was, a record would be kept elsewhere.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As the First Minister has made clear, the Scottish Government is wholly committed to co-operating fully with the COVID-19 inquiries. This includes providing any requested material that we hold.
“More than 13,000 documents from the official record have been sent to the UK Inquiry from the Scottish Government, in addition to the corporate and personal statements requested. Providing the formal decision-making record has been our priority.
“The UK Inquiry has subsequently asked for WhatsApp messages relating to logistics and day-to-day communication, which we are working to provide.
“Given the interest in this specific request from the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, subject to approval from the Parliamentary Bureau, the deputy first minister will seek to make a statement to parliament on the issue early next week.”
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