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SNP’s ‘sickening cynicism and self-interest’ exposed by Covid inquiry

Bereaved families have been betrayed by the SNP’s “sickening cynicism and self-interest”, Holyrood will be told tomorrow (Wednesday).

The charge will be led by Douglas Ross when the Scottish Conservatives use their party business slot to debate transparency in government, in the wake of the revelations at the UK Covid Inquiry.

He insists two of the key findings at the UK Covid Inquiry – the orchestrated deletion of WhatsApp messages and the politicising of the pandemic to further the independence cause – have exposed “the SNP’s true, rotten colours”.

The Scottish Conservative leader has challenged Humza Yousaf to refer himself to the independent adviser on the ministerial code, for contradictory statements on the whereabouts of his WhatsApp messages.

He is also calling on the First Minister to support his party’s call for Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee to be reconvened to improve accountability and transparency. 

Scottish Conservative Party Leader Douglas Ross said: “The Covid bereaved families have been utterly betrayed by an SNP Government which took its trademark secrecy and cover-up to a new low during the pandemic.

“The inquiry has exposed their sickening cynicism and self-interest.

“We have learned of the orchestrated and concerted efforts of senior ministers and officials to delete WhatsApp messages en masse.

“And the messages that have been recovered explain the reason for the cover-up: they didn’t want us to know that Nicola Sturgeon shamefully exploited the pandemic for ‘purely political’ purposes to stoke division with the UK Government and push the SNP’s independence obsession.

“That’s not an allegation – it’s a fact. Minutes of a cabinet meeting in June 2020, and messages from the former First Minister’s chief of staff, explicitly say so. They illustrate the SNP’s true, rotten colours.”

“If Humza Yousaf’s ‘apology’ to the bereaved is to mean anything, he must refer himself to the independent adviser on the ministerial code, for misleading comments on his own WhatsApp messages, and back our calls to reconvene the Covid-19 committee, so that he and other ministers can be held to account.”