The deputy first minister said that “all requested messages held will be shared in full and unredacted” by Monday…reports Asian Lite News
The Scottish government will hand over more than 14,000 electronic messages, mainly WhatsApps, to the UK Covid Inquiry, Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has announced. She also said First Minister Humza Yousaf would share his messages.
The government had been criticised for not handing over all relevant data to the UK Covid Inquiry, with senior figures accused of deleting files. Nicola Sturgeon refused to say whether or not she had erased any messages.
Speaking to reporters in the Scottish Parliament, the former first minister said she had “nothing to hide”. “I did not manage the Covid response by WhatsApp,” said the ex-SNP leader, who is alleged to have manually deleted messages.
“For example, I was not a member of any WhatsApp groups. I managed the Covid response from my office in St Andrews House.”
She added: “I will set out in full to the inquiry how I operated, what I hold, what I don’t hold and the reasons for that.”
During a statement to parliament, Robison apologised to bereaved families for “any lack of clarity” about material provided to the inquiries.
She said the Scottish government received a request in September from the UK Covid Inquiry to hand over WhatsApp messages from officials, ministers and former ministers related to the pandemic.
Robison confirmed the Scottish government had been issued a formal legal order, under section 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005, to release the material, which she said was necessary due to data privacy concerns.
The deputy first minister said that “all requested messages held will be shared in full and unredacted” by Monday.
In addition to “hundreds” of messages already submitted, Ms Robison said this would include more than 14,000 mainly WhatsApp messages from officials, ministers and former ministers.
“It will be for individuals to explain to the inquiries they have taken in relation to record retention,” she told MSPs. She added that First Minister Humza Yousaf would hand over unredacted WhatsApp messages to the inquiry in the coming days.