Daily Record

There should be no Covid secrets


IT SHOULD be expected that government­s keep detailed records on how important decisions are made, especially during a national emergency like the pandemic.

Lockdowns, restrictio­ns on liberty and the threat to public health impacted on all of us. That’s why the UK Covid Inquiry was set-up – to scrutinise decisions and spot mistakes. Government ministers and officials, like most of the public, regularly interact with each other through emails and text messages.

That means such messages should be preserved as a matter of record.

It was alleged yesterday that the Scottish Government has handed over no WhatsApp messages at all to the inquiry. Most of us will have no reason to ever look again at old messages we sent three days ago, let alone three years ago during the dark days of the Covid crisis.

But these things matter when it comes to the government. They provide an invaluable resource as to why government ministers made their decisions.

They are also crucial evidence to public inquiries set up to uncover mistakes and suggest improvemen­ts.

And there are no bigger inquiries right now than the one examining the UK’s response to the pandemic.

Despite Boris Johnson’s long-running battle over his unredacted Whatsapp texts, thousands of messages shared between public health officials and Tory ministers at Westminste­r during the health emergency have already been shared by the inquiry. The public has a right to expect Holyrood to do the same. No one wants the same mistakes repeated when the next pandemic comes around.

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