AN SNP minister has been forced to apologise after her snide comments about government colleagues were revealed in leaked WhatsApp messages.

Elena Whitham said deputy First Minister Shona Robison was “painful to listen to” and “an automaton” and mocked the “ego” of constitution secretary Angus Robertson.

She also described the late Queen’s platinum Jubilee as “royalist b*******s” and referred to a Tory MSP as a “p***k”.

And she questioned the SNP’s initial decision to close ranks and support the disgraced Glasgow MP Patrick Grady after it emerged he sexually harassed a party staffer.

After the messages were obtained by the Daily Record newspaper, Ms Whitham said: “These comments were not acceptable and I apologise sincerely.".

Scottish Labour said it was evidence of “disarray” at the top of the SNP.

The MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley since 2021, Ms Whitham, 49, has been minister for drugs and alcohol policy since Humza Yousaf’s reshuffle in March this year.

Prior to that, she was Nicola Sturgeon’s community safety minister, getting an unexpected promotion after Ash Regan resigned from the post over gender recognition reforms.

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Referring to a Holyrood statement by Robinson, the then Social Justice Secretary, on poverty in 2021, Ms Whitham wrote in an internal WhatsApp group: “Shona needing to find her stride here. She is struggling.

"It is a great statement and we are doing so much amazing work but she isn’t selling it as well as she could.” 

Ms Whitham added: “She is a bit of a cold fish. She is like an automaton.” 

In another debate on poverty weeks later, Ms Whitham returned to her theme, writing:: “Gosh….I find Shona R painful to listen to.”

Mr Yousaf promoted Ms Robison to the post of finance secretary and deputy FM in March, giving her huge influence over Ms Whitham’s departmental budget.

When Ms Sturgeon appointed Mr Robertson to the cabinet in 2021, Ms Whitham wrote: “Angus in Cabinet [rolling eyes emoji] the ego has landed.”

She also attacked the SNP’s mishandling of the Grady affair, writing: “Honestly why didn’t we act?”

After a leaked recording of the SNP MP  group showed then leader Ian Blackford rallying support for Mr Grady, Ms Whitham responded: “Wtf. Who is recording group meetings?! And why are we supporting Grady?? Honestly.”

At the start of a Holyrood debate on the Queen’s jubilee last year, Ms Whitham said: “Give me strength to get through this royalist b*****ks.”

On Tory MSP Brian Whittle, she wrote: “F*** me. Whittle is a p***k.”

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Scottish Labour deputy leader Dame Jackie Baillie said: “What these leaks go to show is that the SNP is in disarray – with a Scottish Government minister slagging off colleagues right, left and centre. The fact is that this is a party out of ideas, out of control and out of time.

“Ms Whitham is right to question why her party closed ranks around the disgraced Patrick Grady when he was accused of sexual misconduct. 

“It’s clear for all to see that Ms Whitham does not hold the Deputy First Minister in high regard and views Angus Robertson as an egotist.

“The wheels have come off the SNP bus and Humza Yousaf is completely out of his depth.

"The people of Scotland need a government focused on their priorities – the NHS, tackling the cost of living crisis and growing the economy.”

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy added: “These damning leaked messages sum up the chaos that is now engulfing the SNP. They are fighting like Nats in a sack, with another SNP representative happy to undermine their ministerial colleagues. 

“The feuds among the SNP are becoming increasingly bitter and the party looks deeply divided.

"Humza Yousaf clearly doesn’t have the leadership authority to crack down on these disputes, otherwise these eye-opening messages would never have seen the light of day.

“As the SNP spend more time throwing insults at each other – as well as her late majesty and one of my colleagues in Elena Whitham’s case – the real priorities of Scotland are being completely ignored."

An SNP spokesperson said: "We do not comment on leaked messages, however we remind all of our parliamentarians of the courtesy and respect they should show each other."