All of Nicola Sturgeon’s Whatsapp messages from during the Covid pandemic appear to have been deleted, an inquiry heard.
Jamie Dawson KC, counsel to the inquiry, said the former First Minister appeared to “have retained no messages whatsoever”.
The UK Covid inquiry, sitting in Edinburgh for three weeks, also heard former Deputy First Minister John Swinney’s messages on WhatsApp were set to auto-delete.
Lesley Fraser, director general corporate at the Scottish Government, was giving evidence to the inquiry on Friday.
Ms Fraser said the emergence of new technologies such as Zoom during the pandemic meant records may not have been retained in the normal fashion.
Mr Dawson, questioning her, asked about a table supplied by the government in October 2023 which summarised ministers’ use of notebooks, and the retention of messages and other forms of communication.
He said: “Under the box ‘Nicola Sturgeon’, it says that messages were not retained, they were deleted in routine tidying up of inboxes or changes of phones, unable to retrieve messages.
“What that tends to suggest is at the time that request was made Nicola Sturgeon, the former First Minister of Scotland, had retained no messages whatsoever in connection with her management of the pandemic.”
Ms Fraser replied: “That’s what that indicates to me.”
The director general corporate told the inquiry Ms Sturgeon’s messages were unable to be supplied from the government from its corporate record.
A spokesman for former SNP leader said on Thursday: “In the interests of everyone who has been impacted by the Covid pandemic, Nicola is committed to full transparency to both the UK and Scottish Covid inquiries.
“Any messages she had, she handled and dealt with in line with the Scottish Government’s policies.
“Nicola has provided a number of written statements to the UK inquiry – totalling hundreds of pages – and welcomes the opportunity to give oral evidence to the inquiry again this month when she will answer all questions put to her.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country