Nicola Sturgeon is coming under more pressure over her pandemic WhatsApps after the UK Covid Inquiry revealed there was no restriction on the former first minister saying whether or not she had deleted her messages. 

On Tuesday night the former first minister insisted she had “nothing to hide” but repeatedly refused to say whether she had wiped Covid communications from her phone. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says 'I have nothing to hide' but silent on WhatsApps

Speaking to journalists, the ex-SNP leader said she was “committed to full transparency” but that the information supplied to the four-nation probe was "confidential until the inquiry says otherwise.”

That put her at odds with Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes, with both confirming that they have not deleted their messages, despite Scottish Government social media guidance urging ministers to do so.

On Thursday, the Inquiry confirmed that while witness statements and other materials prepared for them are confidential until they are used in evidence, they have not otherwise placed restrictions on what witnesses may say to the press or others.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The UK Covid Inquiry has ridden a coach and horses through Nicola Sturgeon’s absurd excuse for refusing to say whether or not she deleted WhatsApp messages.

“No one was asking her to reveal the content of the messages publicly, just whether she’d destroyed them – a question other SNP ministers and former ministers have freely answered.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s pathetic ‘confidentiality’ defence lies in tatters, along with her credibility

“She must now come clean and confirm if she has deleted these messages.”

Commenting a spokesperson for Ms Sturgeon said:  “In the interests of everyone who has been impacted by the Covid pandemic, Nicola is committed to full transparency to both the UK and Scottish Covid inquiries.

"Any messages she had, she handled and dealt with in line with the Scottish Government’s policies. 

“She will continue to provide all information requested by the inquiry that she holds and will continue to cooperate fully. 

“She has recently submitted her third written statement to the UK inquiry - running to around 200 pages - and expects to give oral evidence again next year when she will answer all questions put to her.” 

READ MORE: Kate Forbes has retained all her pandemic WhatsApps

There have been questions of the former first minister following reports in the Sunday Mail that key Covid-related messages had been deleted from her phone.

Other reports have suggested both National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch and Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith may have deleted messages either manually or through the use of WhatsApp’s auto-delete function.