Humza Yousaf promises all documents will be handed over to Covid requests

The First Minister said Scottish ministers would be “fully abiding by the rules” set out in both the UK and Scottish Inquiries into how the pandemic is being dealt with.

It comes as the Scottish Commission of Inquiry issued letters urging key organisations, including the Scottish Government, to “do not destroy” to ensure any information deemed relevant to the inquiry is retained.

During the First Minister’s questioning, Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar asked if all past and present ministers were complying with the order.

READ ALSO: Nicola Sturgeon Tells Covid Inquiry ‘We Didn’t Get Everything Right’

Mr. Yousaf replied, “Yes, they will.”

He added: “To ensure there is no doubt whatsoever, all requested materials will be used: WhatsApp messages, emails, signals, telegrams, whatever is requested or requested; “We are definitely accommodating to the Covid requests and will hand over to them in full.”

Former First Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and her then-deputy John Swinney gave testimony before FMQs on Thursday as part of the UK Inquiry.

After WhatsApp messages from high-ranking employees were blacked out, a transparency dispute broke out between the British investigative authorities and the Westminster government.

Mr Sarwar replied that the First Minister’s assurance was “really significant” and called for the guarantee to be presented in writing.

He added: “Covid has taken a heavy toll on everyone across the country and we continue to feel its impact.”

“The least we can expect is that when grieving families are looking for answers, this SNP government will provide them because, sadly, we know this is a government known for a culture of secrecy and cover-up .”

READ ALSO: Sturgeon Gives Evidence Of Covid Inquiry: What Have We Learned?

Mr Sarwar also urged the First Minister to clarify whether he expects the Scottish Inquiry to be completed by the next Scottish election in 2026.

While the UK Inquiry began in August, the Scottish Inquiry has experienced delays after four members of the Inquiry’s legal team and former Chair Lady Poole left office last year.

Mr Sarwar said: “This is important for thousands of families who have lost a loved one, for NHS and care workers and for everyone across Scotland who will be left frustrated at the Scottish investigation that is lagging behind as we learn the lessons of the pandemic have to pull.”

The First Minister said it would be “deeply inappropriate” for him to intervene in an independent public inquiry.

But he added: “Obviously we want the Covid request to be sent quickly. What I would like to say to Anas Sarwar is that I have met the bereaved families myself and I fully understand why they want the Covid investigation to move forward expeditiously.

“It is so important that the Covid investigation takes the necessary steps to get these answers in a transparent manner.”

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