Sturgeon must end ‘bogus and pitiful stone-walling’ on deleted messages

By Lucy Ashton

Nicola Sturgeon has been told to end her “bogus and pitiful stone-walling” on the question of deleted WhatsApp messages immediately – for the sake of those who lost loved ones to Covid.

Douglas Ross has written to the former First Minister today urging her to come clean in the wake of a UK Covid Inquiry briefing , dismissing her claim that confidentiality prevented her from disclosing whether she had destroyed key messages.

It’s the second time in a week that the Scottish Conservative leader has written to Ms Sturgeon – who repeatedly refused to answer the question from journalists – and comes after her former ministers Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes confirmed they had retained WhatsApp correspondence.

Mr Ross warned that she or any other minister who deleted messages relevant to the inquiry could have broken the law. He added that it was in Ms Sturgeon’s interests to provide clarity for her “already shredded reputation to retain a semblance of credibility”. 

Douglas Ross, left, said: “Nicola Sturgeon cannot persist with her bogus and pitiful stonewalling in response to this vital, yet very simple, question.

“It’s an insult to those who lost loved ones during the pandemic for a former First Minister to hide behind process for refusing to say whether or not she deleted WhatsApp messages.

“Her ‘confidentiality’ excuse was already painfully weak, given the likes of Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes were happy to answer the same question – but the Covid Inquiry has now blown it to smithereens.

“What Nicola Sturgeon is reported to have done looks to constitute law-breaking, so she has to address this issue head on, either via a public statement or a personal statement in parliament.

“I got no response when I wrote to her at the start of the week, so I have done so again today.

“It’s in Nicola Sturgeon’s own interests to belatedly provide clarity, if her already shredded reputation is to retain a semblance of credibility.”

Top of page: Nicola Sturgeon with her local “lieutenants” Brendan O’Hara and Martin Docherty-Hughes. 

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