Highland MSPs involved in the Scottish Government's Covid WhatsApp messages scandal
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
The scandal engulfing the Scottish Government’s handling of WhatsApp messages throughout the Covid pandemic has reached the Highlands but the responses from two MSPs – Kate Forbes and Maree Todd – were radically different.
Senior figures within the Scottish Government – including Nicola Sturgeon and clinical director Jason Leitch – have been accused of deleting messages and failing to hand over information to the UK Covid Inquiry sparking outrage from families who lost loved ones.
Ms Forbes was the finance secretary from February 2020 until March 2023 and was responsible for tackling the economic and financial issues faced by Scotland during the pandemic.
A spokeswoman for the former finance secretary confirmed to this newspaper that she has already “made an extensive initial submission” and has “retained and submitted all relevant correspondence.”
He said: “Kate has fully participated with the Scottish Covid Inquiry, and has already made an extensive initial submission. Kate has retained and submitted all relevant correspondence about decisions made during the Covid-19 pandemic."
He added: “She did not use WhatsApp messages to make decisions about Covid-19.”
The Scottish Government fielded an identical question for Ms Todd because she is still a minister.
The government was specifically asked whether or not Ms Todd retained her messages during her period as a minister but they refused to answer and ignored further inquiries.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As the First Minister has made clear, the Scottish Government is wholly committed to co-operating fully with the Covid-19 inquiries. This includes providing any requested material that we hold.”
Ms Todd was the minister for public health and women's health from May 2021 to March 2023 and before that the minister for children and young people.
The pandemic is broadly considered to have lasted from January 2020 to April 2022 – when Scotland lifted the last of the personal restrictions.