Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Sturgeon to face Covid inquiry next week

The former first minister is likely to face questions on the use of private emails for Scottish Government business.

Rebecca McCurdy
Thursday 25 January 2024 11:08 GMT
Former first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon will appear at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry on Wednesday (Jane Barlow/PA)
Former first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon will appear at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry on Wednesday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Nicola Sturgeon is set to give evidence to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry next week amid growing scrutiny over deleted messages.

The former Scottish first minister will be grilled by the inquiry on Wednesday on her leadership and decisions made during the pandemic.

Questions are likely to arise over which messages have been handed over to the public inquiry after counsel said last week Ms Sturgeon appeared to have “retained no messages whatsoever” from the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon conceded messages had not been retained on her own devices but said she had managed to retrieve copies to submit to the inquiry.

Informal messages, she said, were handed over to the inquiry last year.

But Ms Sturgeon also said it was Scottish Government policy – introduced in 2021 – to delete messages sent on platforms such as WhatsApp, providing important business discussions were transcribed to an email or text document to be stored as an official record.

Ms Sturgeon is also likely to be questioned about the decision to provide public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar with her SNP email address to “privately” be contacted, which the inquiry heard about when the professor gave evidence on Tuesday.

It is understood Ms Sturgeon forwarded any such emails to the Scottish Government and offered to supply the inquiry with them if required.

But Ms Sturgeon is facing calls for an investigation from political opponents and has been urged to publish emails she sent or received from her private SNP account which relate to Government business.

UK Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, who was part of a committee of cabinet ministers that made decisions on Covid-19, will appear at the inquiry on Monday.

Former Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney and former finance secretary Kate Forbes will give evidence on Tuesday and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack will appear on Thursday.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in