A former Scottish Government official who told colleagues to delete WhatsApps messages during the Covid pandemic has been urged to quit a second role over his conduct. 

Ken Thomson resigned from a supervisory position at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) on Wednesday citing “personal reasons”.

However he remains an honorary professor at Glasgow University - a position he was given in December because of his “distinguished career in the civil service”.

The Tories said the “honourable thing” would be for the ex-mandarin to give up the title.

READ MORE: Ex-Holyrood official who told colleagues to delete WhatsApps quits job

The row over Mr Thomson broke out last month after evidence emerged at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry of him and other senior officials discussing how to destroy their WhatsApps.

Mr Thomson, who helped lead the response to the outbreak, encouraged others to clear their chats in case they were later recovered under freedom of information.

He joked that his middle names were “plausible deniability”.

In her evidence, Nicola Sturgeon later described him as an official who acted with “the utmost integrity and utmost professionalism”, calling his remarks “light-hearted”.

However the Edinburgh Reporter said grieving families had questioned whether he was a fit and proper person to be chair of the ICAS regulation board.

After taking up the ICAS post on January 1, Mr Thomson stood down on January 31.

Now Mr Thomson, who retired from the Scottish Government in November 2023, is under pressure to relinquish another new role.

In December, he and former deputy First Minister John Swinney were both made honorary professors at Glasgow University’s Centre for Public Policy.

The University described Mr Thomson as “one of the key architects of devolution”, as he worked on constitutional change before the Scottish Parliament was revived in 1999.

Mr Thomson said at the time: “Governments and those they serve face increasingly complex and disruptive challenges, so it is more important than ever to find ways to bring different disciplines and perspectives to bear in shaping public policy responses.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says chat about ducking FoI was 'light-hearted'

University Principal Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said Mr Thomson and Mr Swinney would “bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their roles”.

But Glasgow Tory MSP Annie Wells said the pandemic evidence trumped that.

She said: “Glasgow University may have considered it a coup getting John Swinney and Ken Thomson on board but the revelations from the Covid inquiry mean both men now provide embarrassment rather than gravitas.

“The honourable thing to do would be for them to relinquish their ‘honorary professor’ titles.”

The University confirmed both Mr Thomson and Mr Swinney remain in place.

A University spokesperson said: “The Centre for Public Policy has made a range of Honorary Professorship appointments, representing a broad spectrum of expertise, to enhance the contribution of the University of Glasgow to the public policy process. 

“This remains the case.”