Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney have huge questions to answer over their conduct in the wake of this devastating revelation.
“By deleting all their WhatsApp messages, they defied the inquiry’s clear instructions from June 2021 that all relevant messages had to be retained.
“Their actions may be illegal and beg a very simple question: what were they trying to hide? Shamefully and outrageously for families of those who died during the pandemic, we may never know.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s reputation, which has been tarnished by a series of scandals in the last year, now lies in tatters.
“Secrecy and evasion were the hallmarks of her government – and this shameful cover-up, which amounts to a digital torching of vital evidence, is the most scandalous example of it.
“Both Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney must urgently answer questions in parliament on this.”