Ministers and advisers use WhatsApp to evade transparency requirements, says LibDem leader

Aamer Anwar, solicitor for Scotland’s bereaved families, and then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

By Bill Heaney

Responding to the First Minister suggesting that there was an official policy in place to destroy Scottish Government WhatsApp messages containing discussions of Covid policy, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:  “The covid rules themselves were well documented, what matters for the inquiry is how they were decided and the thought process behind them.”

He added: “Scottish Liberal Democrats and other transparency campaigners have consistently argued that ministers and advisers use WhatsApp to evade transparency requirements.

“The idea that there was an official policy to regularly destroy WhatsApp messages risks this looking like a conspiracy against the public. Even Richard Nixon, pictured above,  wasn’t shameful enough to destroy the Watergate tapes.”

Labour Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie, LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and FM Humza Yousaf.

Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie said “These bombshell revelations call into question what the SNP government is trying to hide.

“Humza Yousaf said his government would co-operate fully with the Covid inquiries – but this promise has been left in tatters.

“If the top brass of the SNP has been systematically destroying evidence it is a gross betrayal of bereaved families fighting for justice and an insult to all the Scots who made sacrifices during the pandemic.

“The same old SNP culture of secrecy and cover-up isn’t good enough – we need total transparency throughout these inquiries so we can get the answers Scotland deserves.

“The Scottish Government must come clean about exactly what happened here, what information has been lost and whether their data retention policy has been breached.”

Top of page picture: Aamer Anwar, solicitor for Scotland’s bereaved families and Nicola Sturgeon with the Whatsapp device on here telephone.

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