The SNP minister responsible for transparency and freedom of information deletes all of his WhatsApp messages after 24 hours.

George Adam’s use of the “auto-delete” function was uncovered by the BBC after he agreed to an interview on Scottish Government transparency over the popular messaging service.

The Minister for Parliamentary Business’s accidental revelation comes a day after the Scottish Information Commissioner David Hamilton launched an “intervention” into the government’s “use and retention of WhatsApp and other informal communication messages”.

That followed evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry about widespread deletion of messages by ministers and civil servants.

Mr Hamilton said that presented “risks to transparency and accountability within government”.

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Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Mr Adam said WhatsApp was “not being used as a decision making process.”

“Decisions are always made through the actual government IT system itself,” he added.

Mr Adam insisted the Scottish Government believed in “openness and transparency.”

The BBC host then pointed out that when they were setting up the call, that had a notification flash up saying, “George Adam uses a default timer for disappearing messages in new chats. New messages will disappear from this chat 24 hours after they're sent.”

Asked why he was deleted his messages, Mr Adam replied: “Basically, I don't use WhatsApp for business, parliamentary business in any shape or form.

“What I do use WhatsApp for is for information for like my private office will get in touch with me and talk to me ‘you’re being late for a meeting, George’, ‘you've got meeting in five minutes,’ things like that.

“But any information that on that chat will be retained and put into the Scottish government system.”

“My job as Minister for parliamentary business, freedom of information and open government is part of my remit. I would make sure that everything is done through the proper channels, because that is the way you need to do business within Scottish Government.

“There is no way that any decisions will be made over WhatsApp because no government official would actually do the work you want them to do unless you've done it through the actual proper channels.

“And I think at the end of the day, for me, it's about me just sitting there making sure that I'm doing everything through the official channels, and that is through the Scots IT system.”

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Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said: “It was both embarrassing and telling that the SNP Government’s information minister was forced to admit that he too automatically deletes his WhatsApp messages.

"At the same time, he insisted, presumably with a straight face, that his party and government are committed to openness and transparency.

“Like Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney, he claimed that social media is never used for decision-making purposes – something which the Covid inquiry exposed as simply untrue.

“Nicola Sturgeon insisted that there was a message deletion policy in place throughout her time in government even though her predecessor refuted this, and Nicola Sturgeon herself was able to retrieve her messages for the Alex Salmond inquiry.

"Even if such a policy had been in place, she could and should have lifted it – but chose not to, to cover her tracks."