Scottish Government hands over WhatsApp messages to UK Covid Inquiry

The Scottish Government said it had met the November 6 deadline for the messages from ministers to be submitted.

Scottish Government hands over 14,000 WhatsApp messages to UK Covid Inquiry iStock

The Scottish Government has handed over more than 14,000 WhatsApp messages to the UK Government probe into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison told Holyrood the Government would “fully comply” with any request for disclosure of communications from the inquiry by the November 6 deadline last week.

The announcement came following a row over the messages was sparked last month when Jamie Dawson KC, counsel to the UK inquiry, said “no messages” from within the Scottish Government had yet been provided.

Robison last week confirmed that the Scottish Government had received a legal notice known as a Section 21 order permitting it to hand over the messages.

FM Humza Yousaf was among those to confirm he would hand over his messages to the investigation, despite press reports suggesting predecessor Nicola Sturgeon, as well as national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch and chief medical officer Dr Sir Gregor Smith deleted their messages.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the messages had now been sent in full, but said they would not be providing a “running commentary” on the status of the probe.

“The Deputy First Minister made a statement to Parliament on October 31 where she confirmed that the Scottish Government had received the Section 21 notice and that work was well underway to fully comply in accordance with the timetable set by the UK Inquiry,” they said.

“All material that the Scottish Government holds has now been submitted to the Inquiry.

“She also highlighted that the Scottish Government does not intend to provide a running commentary on the work of either inquiry in order to ensure the Inquiries can take forward their necessary work without undue speculation.”

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