MSPs have rejected a Conservative bid to force Humza Yousaf and Shona Robison to refer themselves for investigation over a potential breach of the ministerial code.

The Conservatives had tabled a motion which called on the First Minister and his deputy to refer themselves to the independent adviser in the wake of accounts given over requests from the UK Covid-19 Inquiry for WhatsApp messages.

READ MORE: Yousaf and Robison accused of misleading Holyrood over Covid WhatsApps

A Scottish Government amendment which removed those calls and instead highlighted that action has been taken “to transfer messages to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry in compliance with its requests” was passed by 63 votes to 53, with one abstention.

Earlier this month, both the First Minister and his deputy told Holyrood that the Inquiry had asked the Scottish Government for pandemic-related WhatsApp messages in September.

However, at the Inquiry’s request, last week, the Government published a full timeline showing the Inquiry had actually first asked for WhatsApp messages in February.

The Scottish Government had then failed to hand over any WhatsApps when it gave its final response to the Inquiry in June.

Opening the debate, Douglas Ross said he was trying to get to the truth.

“If the government believes that there has been no breach of the code, then why would they not allow an investigation to go ahead to confirm their side of events?” he asked.

“I suspect it's because they already know what the findings would be. And that would not be favourable for Humza Yousaf or for Shona Robison.”

The Scottish Tory leader later accused the SNP leadership of misleading parliament.

When he was reprimanded by the Deputy Presiding Officer for unparliamentary language, Mr Ross said that he believed the statements from Mr Yousaf and Ms Robison “were not a simple slip of the tongue,” but a “product of a concerted effort to confuse and muddle the timeline to make it seem as though the SNP government were not dragging their heels and getting evidence to the inquiry.”

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Responding, Ms Robison said the government was “committed to full cooperation with both the Scottish and UK inquiries.”

She said ministers had now sent more than 19,000 documents, as well as 14,000 group messages and a further 14,000 messages between individuals.

However, a Labour amendment which called on the Government to provide a date for when the unredacted legal advice requested by the inquiry would be handed over, and questioning if emails from personal and SNP email addresses had been submitted to the inquiry, was defeated by 53 votes to 64.

The motion, as altered by the Scottish Government amendment, was passed by 62 votes to 54, with one abstention.