Nicola Sturgeon insists WhatsApp was not used to make decisions during pandemic as she faces grilling at inquiry

31 January 2024, 10:45 | Updated: 31 January 2024, 11:18

Nicola Sturgeon arriving at the UK Covid inquiry hearing at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Nicola Sturgeon arriving at the UK Covid inquiry hearing at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that WhatsApp was not used to make decisions during the pandemic as she faces grilling at the Covid inquiry.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The former first minister said she did not make "extensive" use of WhatsApp, with big decisions being made "formally".

It comes after Ms Sturgeon was heckled while arriving at the inquiry on Wednesday. She is under increased scrutiny over the deletion of WhatsApp messages during the pandemic.

But she said there was "nothing" important in them that was not already on the official record.

Ms Sturgeon previously said despite messages having "not been retained" on her own device, she was still able to obtain copies to submit to the inquiry last year.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon branded Boris Johnson a 'f***ing clown' and 'utterly incompetent' over Covid lockdowns, inquiry hears

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon says Covid inquiry has copies of messages after hearing heard pandemic texts were 'all deleted'

It comes after WhatsApp messages between Ms Sturgeon and then chief of staff Liz Lloyd revealed that she branded Boris Johnson "a f****** clown".

She blasted Mr Johnson for his "utter incompetence", saying it was "offending me on behalf of politicians everywhere".

Ms Sturgeon went on to say the former PM's address to the nation on October 31 2020 was "f****** excruciating" and that the UK Government's communications were "awful".

Ms Lloyd said she was "offended" on behalf of special advisers everywhere.

"He is a f****** clown," Ms Sturgeon replied.

First Minister Humza Yousaf leaving the UK Covid Inquiry hearing last week
First Minister Humza Yousaf leaving the UK Covid Inquiry hearing last week. Picture: Alamy

Current first minister Humza Yousaf offered an "unreserved" apology for the Scottish Government's "frankly poor" handling of requests for WhatsApp messages during his evidence last Thursday.

He announced an external review into the Government's use of mobile messaging.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "As the First Minister outlined, he has commissioned an externally-led review into the use of mobile messaging apps and non-corporate technology in the Scottish Government.

"This will take particular account of Government interaction with statutory public inquiries.

"During this period, we will continue to keep our records management policy under review in line with legislation.

"The external review will inform a wider internal records management policy review.

"More detail on the external and internal reviews will be given in due course."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Jay Slater's mum issues desperate plea after Spanish police reject help in search for missing Brit

Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky has reportedly slammed Nigel Farage for his controversial comments about the West provoking the invasion of the country.

Zelensky reportedly says Farage 'infected by Putinism' as Reform leader doubles down on Ukraine comments

Another top Tory official is being investigated by the Gambling Commission for dozens of bets on the election date.

Another top Tory official investigated over 'dozens of bets placed on election' but denies wrongdoing

Thirteen people have been arrested after a forest fire near Athens which were allegedly started by fireworks coming from a mega-yacht.

13 arrested after Greek mega-yacht allegedly caused forest fires on outskirts

Four men have been arrested after Sebaastian James-Kraan was shot and killed on Templeman Road in Ealing, west London on June 9.

Four arrested in murder probe after 20-year-old shot dead in Ealing on June 9

Starmer labels Farage's comments 'disgraceful'

Farage doubles down on Ukraine comments after Sunak and Starmer condemned Reform UK leader

England manager Gareth Southgate has suggested his team are not fit enough

Gareth Southgate says England squad have 'limitations' after lacklustre start to Euro 2024

Just Stop Oil plans major disruption to summer holidays with private jet stunt just the start

Two Just Stop Oil protesters deny causing £52,000 worth of damage after private jets sprayed with orange paint

Sir Keir Starmer, (L), and Kemi Badenoch

‘We are not rejoining the EU’: Starmer shuts down Badenoch’s claim Labour want to ‘reverse Brexit’

Rowling criticises Sir Keir along with several members of his shadow cabinet

JK Rowling 'struggling to support' Labour over Sir Keir's stance on transgender rights that's 'abandoning' women

Taylor Swift poses with the Royal Family

Taylor Swift takes selfie with William, George and Charlotte - as Prince of Wales spotted dancing away to ‘Shake It Off’

Chris Packham has blamed the media for the radical action of Just Stop Oil

Environmental activist Chris Packham blames media for existence of Just Stop Oil

Starmer labels Farage's comments 'disgraceful'

Farage’s comments on Ukraine are ‘disgraceful’, Starmer tells LBC, as PM accuses him of ‘playing into Putin’s hands’

Timberlake was arrested after having dinner with friends on Long Island

Justin Timberlake breaks silence on drink-driving arrest at Chicago concert

Nigel Farage

General Election LIVE: Tories rally against Farage after Reform leader says West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Dr Michael Mosley and his wife, Clare.

‘We miss him so much’: Michael Mosley’s widow says she will continue his work in emotional tribute