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FMQs: Yousaf and SNP Government ‘found out’ by UK Covid Inquiry revelations

Humza Yousaf was today challenged over WhatsApp messages published by the UK Covid Inquiry, in which he said: “I am winging it and will get found out sooner or later”.

Douglas Ross said it was a “disgrace” that the First Minister, then the health secretary, joked about not knowing what he was doing when 10,000 people in Scotland had already died from Covid.

At First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Conservative leader said “Humza Yousaf was winging it, but the whole SNP Government been found out” after a serious of damaging revelations at the UK Covid Inquiry in recent weeks.

Humza Yousaf also denied that independence was a key consideration for the SNP Government during the pandemic, despite evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry showing it was raised for consideration during discussions about public health decisions.

An email revealed yesterday by the inquiry showed senior SNP Government figures discussing the travel ban to Spain in July 2020. Included in the email chain were Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and Humza Yousaf.

The email read: “I’m extremely concerned about this… it won’t matter how much ministers might justify it on health grounds, the Spanish Government will conclude it is entirely political, they won’t forget, there is a real possibility they will never approve EU membership for an independent Scotland as a result.”

Humza Yousaf was also challenged over SNP secrecy and Nicola Sturgeon breaking a promise to be transparent to the press and public.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “It’s a disgrace that Humza Yousaf, then the health secretary in charge of the NHS, laughed and joked about being out of his depth during a pandemic.

“We all know that Humza Yousaf was winging it – but the whole SNP Government has been found out by recent revelations at the UK Covid Inquiry.

“In black and white, evidence at the UK Covid Inquiry shows the SNP Government were thinking about independence instead of focusing on public health. Humza Yousaf himself was involved in that discussion.

“Independence should never even have been considered in a decision about a travel ban. 

“Nicola Sturgeon’s messages were deleted despite her having promised grieving families she would be transparent and assuring a journalist that all her messages would be handed over. 

“Humza Yousaf had no credible explanation for why Nicola Sturgeon said yes, she would hand over messages, when she really meant ‘no, they’re gone’.”