Nicola Sturgeon faces a raft of questions over the decisions taken by her government during the pandemic when she gives evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry today.

The former first minister will be in front of Lady Hallett for the whole day, with the session streamed live from 10am on the inquiry's YouTube channel here.

One of the key issues facing the ex-SNP leader will be her decision to delete scores of WhatsApp messages and other informal communications.

READ MORE: Sturgeon and Swinney closed schools despite Covid advice to cabinet

The ex-SNP leader will also likely be tackled on the culture within St Andrew's House and what’s been described as her “government within a government,” which saw decisions taken by a small group of ministers and advisers.

Ms Sturgeon’s appearance follows evidence from her successor Humza Yousaf, as well as several cabinet colleagues and advisors.

Yesterday, Kate Forbes, revealed she did not know about the existence of a key decision-making group within the government until a year into the pandemic.

The former finance secretary said it was only in mid-2011 when she learned of the Gold Command group, which met in secret with no minutes taken.

Later, during John Swinney’s evidence, the inquiry saw a paper which told Scottish ministers that closing schools would not slow the transmission of Covid-19 “to a great extent".

He also said the Scottish Government did not consider any alternative to closing schools in March 2020.

Mr Swinney, who was education secretary at the time, said that the decision to close schools was not taken at cabinet, but as a result of conversations he and Ms Sturgeon had after cabinet later that day and the next day.

He also confirmed that he “manually” deleted messages between himself, Ms Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, in accordance with Scottish Government guidance, issued in 2021.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf complained about Nicola Sturgeon 'ranting' in cabinet

Earlier this month it was confirmed that Ms Sturgeon had deleted all of her WhatsApp messages from the pandemic, that was despite assurances to the contrary.

In August 2021, during one of her regular Covid briefings, Ms Sturgeon was asked by Ciaran Jenkins from Channel 4 News to “guarantee to the bereaved families that you will disclose emails, WhatsApps, private emails if you’ve been using them, whatever? That nothing will be off limits in this inquiry?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “I think if you understand statutory public inquiries you would know that even if I wasn't prepared to give that assurance, which for the avoidance of doubt I am, then I wouldn't have the ability.

"This will be a judge-led, statutory public inquiry.”

Commenting ahead of Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance at the Covid Inquiry Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Dame Jackie Baillie said “At the heart of this inquiry are thousands of Scots who suffered losses and made sacrifices during the pandemic.

“The public deserves answers about what went so tragically wrong and Nicola Sturgeon must give them those answers tomorrow.

“Nicola Sturgeon created the culture of secrecy and cover-up in the SNP government and Humza Yousaf continues that same approach. It's time this ended – the public need the truth.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said there were “huge questions for Nicola Sturgeon to answer this week.”

He said: “The fragments of messages revealed by the inquiry have already shown that key decisions were being deliberated and taken over WhatsApp, while public health officials and members of her own cabinet were kept out of the loop. “Bereaved families have been left in the lurch, grappling with the reality that they may never get the full picture they are so desperately fighting for.”

While Ms Sturgeon is giving evidence, the Scottish Tories will use their opposition time at Holyrood to hold a debate on the “revelations” from the Inquiry.

Tory leader Douglas Ross will demand Holyrood’s Covid-19 Recovery Committee is revived to scrutinise the evidence revealed by the inquiry.

READ MORE: Covid Inquiry: Kate Forbes not told about existence of Gold Command

He will also accuse Ms Sturgeon and Mr Swinney of having “failed grieving families by deleting evidence that they knew would be required for the Inquiry”, claim Humza Yousaf “misled the public” over the retention of his WhatsApp messages, and call for all three to be investigated by the independent adviser on the Scottish Ministerial Code.

SNP MSP Jim Fairlie said: “For the Tories to try and hijack Parliamentary procedure in an attempt to do the Inquiry's job does a disservice to those who lost loved ones and want answers.

"Douglas Ross and the Scottish Tories appear to only hold one government accountable for their actions.

"It was the Tory UK government who partied in Downing Street while we all stayed at home; the Tories who spent their time plotting against independence in the middle of a global pandemic; it was Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak who went to court to try and conceal their messages from the Inquiry.”