SNP ministers have been warned that no-one will want to replace the chairperson and legal counsels who resigned from Scotland’s Covid inquiry.

A lawyer who is representing some of the bereaved families impacted, has said the probe is set to be held up and is “going nowhere”.

A row has erupted after the chairperson of the inquiry, Lady Poole, resigned last week – before it emerged this followed four legal counsel had also quit.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney was forced to deny “secrecy” after he did not tell MSPs about the four resignations.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Professor Peter Watson, said the progress of the inquiry was “going nowhere”.

He said: "It is extraordinary, to say the least, for people such as counsel to the inquiry and others to resign their post and leave.

"Most lawyers would find ways to work round any perceived difficulties but for lawyers to say they will no longer accept instructions – quite extraordinary."

Professor Watson said it will be difficult for a replacement to be found for Lady Poole because they were "particularly eminent - at the top of their particular branch of the law".

He added: "When you lose somebody like Douglas Ross, you're asking another eminent [KC] to come forward, give up two or three years of their practice to do nothing else but this inquiry and when they finish it, I mean, they won't have any practice left."

Asked about who would want to replace Lady Poole, Professor Watson said: “"In my vote no-one. It's a hospital pass."

He added that a replacement would be "difficult to get".

He said: "Whatever happens, even in a best-case scenario, delay is inevitable.

"Some explanation will be necessary.

"Those I represent and I think the wider body of those affected by this pandemic are disappointed and bewildered at the current situation."