NICOLA Sturgeon personally signed off an ill-fated Covid campaign featuring the SNP-backing comedian Janey Godley despite being warned of the “risk” attached to her.  

A newly released freedom of information response shows the First Minister backed the £10,000 deal for Ms Godley at the end of August.

Within days, the campaign was ditched and Ms Godley forced to apologise after “horridly offensive” social media posts came to light.

They included references to disabled people, Chernobyl victims and black celebrities.

The Tories branded Ms Sturgeon “arrogant” and accused her of being willing to lavish public money on a fellow Nationalist despite questions over her suitability.

Ms Godley, 60, became famous during the pandemic for dubbing mock voice-overs onto clips of Ms Sturgeon conducting the daily Covid briefing.

She was hired to promote Covid awareness, face coverings and lateral flow testing, and was paid a £10,000 fee plus £2,000 VAT.

After her offensive tweets came to light, the independence supporter donated it to charity.

The new FoI release shows that on August 29, Scottish Government officials wrote to Ms Sturgeon, deputy FM John Swinney and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf about the potential campaign with Ms Godley. 

It included an explicit warning that her "outspoken" output and "profanities" could cause problems.

It said: “Ms Godley is supportive of the Covid-19 safety behaviours and is compliant herself.

“She is available to participate next week and she carries an ‘no nonsense, straight talking’ approach, which appeals to a wide range of people in Scotland, particularly those of a younger age group. 

“Ministers should however be aware that Ms Godley can be outspoken about a number of subject matters including Donald Trump, other political parties, woman’s rights and topical stories.

"Ms Godley’s twitter page carries profanities regularly as does her social media content.

"So using Ms Godley does not come without some risk.”

Officials also said an unnamed male comedian could be used as an alternative "however he would also carry the same risk due to his style of comedy and presentation".

Two days later, an email from an unnamed source said the campaign “was approved last night by FM, so from Friday 3 Sept onwards we will be running with the new campaign.

“It’s likely this will run for 3-4 weeks.”

It lasted less than one week, after the Scottish Sun revealed her past remarks.

At the time, Ms Sturgeon tried to shrug off the affair by saying “these things happen”.

The Herald:

Apologising on Twitter at the time, Ms Godley wrote: “These historic tweets that people have quite rightly found offensive are deeply hurtful and shows my lack of empathy and zero self-awareness and come from a time of ignorance in my life. 

“I am a firm believer in progress not perfection, I will continue to progress.

“People have every right to see who they are supporting and what values they hold and looking through their past social media is the way forward. I apologise for every single offensive word I wrote."

READ MORE: Janey Godley: SNP-backing comic apologises for her 'horridly offensive' social media posts

Tory MSP Russell Findlay said: “This revelation yet again calls into question Nicola Sturgeon’s judgment. She arrogantly disregarded explicit warnings about the risks of choosing Janey Godley to front a vital public health campaign.

“It fuels suspicions that Nicola Sturgeon and her nationalist government are more willing to lavish taxpayers’ money on those who share their desire to break up the UK and with little regard for their suitability.

“It’s astonishing that when Janey Godley was dropped from this SNP government campaign due to her racist tweets, Nicola Sturgeon glibly said ‘these things happen’.

“Nicola Sturgeon should now apologise for ignoring these warnings which resulted in public money being wasted and important Covid advice to the public being undermined.”

Ms Godley has since revealed she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.