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SNP ‘spin, secrecy and destruction of evidence’ leaves three questions unanswered, Labour says

SCOTTISH Labour says three questions remain unanswered in the SNP’s handling of the Covid pandemic due to government “spin, secrecy and the destruction of evidence.” 

The party asked whether First Minister Humza Yousaf misled Parliament after he said all requested emails, texts and WhatsApp messages would be handed over to the Covid inquiry.

It also asked why untested and Covid-positive patients were discharged into care homes — and why ministers and officials’ record-keeping was so poor.

    It comes as Scotland’s Information Commissioner yesterday launched a probe into the use of WhatsApp by government ministers and officials during the pandemic.

    The move comes amid public fury over messages deleted on an “industrial scale” by former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, her deputy John Swinney, Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch and others.

    Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie accused the SNP of “completely betraying” families who lost loved ones during the pandemic.

    She said: “Despite the extraordinary work the inquiry is doing to uncover the truth, the SNP’s spin, secrecy and destruction of evidence has left us all with unanswered questions.

    “The abhorrent decision to let Covid run rampant through care homes has still not been explained and apologies are cold comfort without any accountability.

    “The SNP government’s woeful record on transparency has been exposed with messages being deleted on an industrial scale and key meetings going unrecorded. 

    “Humza Yousaf promised the Parliament and the people of Scotland that everything the inquiry requested would be turned over — but that promise is now in tatters, along with Scotland’s trust in the SNP. 

    “The SNP must give Scots the answers they deserve and come clean on these key issues.”

    Neither Nicola Sturgeon nor her health secretary Jeane Freeman shed any light on who exactly made the decision to discharge to care homes and why, Labour said.

    Last June Mr Yousaf told Parliament that any material asked will be handed over to the inquiry “in full.”

    He later told the inquiry that he had deleted all messages after a month as per Scottish government policy, but then said he was able to retrieve them from an old phone.

    Labour said the inquiry received “inconsistent and often contradictory evidence about the Scottish government’s guidance on message retention.” It saw evidence that major decisions were discussed within “Gold Command” and Scottish government Resilience Room meetings, but no minutes were kept of these discussions.


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