Solicitors representing bereaved families in the Scottish and UK Covid-19 inquiries have demanded clarity on whether former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s WhatsApp messages were relevant.

Counsel acting on behalf of Scottish ministers said Ms Sturgeon did not have any relevant informal correspondence – which could include private messages, emails or diaries – that were relevant to the handling of the pandemic.

Aamer Anwar, lead solicitor for the Scottish Covid Bereaved group, said it should be a matter for inquiry officials to determine what information is considered relevant.

The group has made further legal submissions to the UK Covid Inquiry calling for all unredacted WhatsApp messages and other relevant materials to be provided.

In a new statement, he said a request “should be made of Scottish ministers to provide to the inquiry any communications held by informal means in order that the primary relevance test can be carried out by this inquiry”.

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Mr Anwar said: “The Government is and should be answerable to the people, this applies to both the Scottish Government as well as the UK Government.

“We were advised by the Scottish ministers’ counsel that Nicola Sturgeon has advised them she does not have such informal messages – i.e. WhatsApp messages.

“Today we have sought full clarity from the UK and Scottish Inquiry as to what has happened to Ms Sturgeon’s WhatsApp messages, and why they are not being disclosed in their entirety.

“Ms Sturgeon and other Scottish ministers should be in no different of a position to that of Mr Johnston, Rishi Sunak or Matt Hancock, the job of establishing the relevance is a matter for this inquiry.

The Herald: Aamer AnwarAamer Anwar (Image: PA)

“We have said before and say it again, no individual, no matter how powerful, can be allowed to interfere with the pursuit of truth, justice and accountability in this inquiry. Those who lost their lives to Covid-19 deserve nothing less.”

It comes as the transparency row between the UK Government and the UK Covid-19 Inquiry widens.

The Cabinet Office has been given until the end of the week to clarify its position on whether it is seeking to prevent the UK Covid-19 Inquiry from seeing Boris Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages and notebooks.

The Cabinet Office is bringing forward a judicial review of inquiry chairwoman Baroness Hallett’s request for all of Johnson’s WhatsApp correspondence and notes.

Ministers have confirmed that they expect an expedited High Court hearing to take place on or shortly after June 30.

Ms Sturgeon will give evidence to the Scottish inquiry at a later date, alongside former deputy first minister John Swinney, health secretary Jeane Freeman and Scotland’s former chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood.

It comes as a transparency row erupts between the UK inquiry and the Westminster government after WhatsApp submissions from senior aides had been redacted.

A spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon said: "Nicola has provided, and will continue to provide, all information she holds to cooperate fully and provide any and all documentation, including messages, to help with both the UK and Scottish Covid inquiries."