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Nicola Sturgeon called Boris Johnson a ‘f***ing clown’, Covid WhatsApps reveal


Scotland’s former first minister Nicola Sturgeon called Boris Johnson a “f***ing clown” at the time of the second Covid lockdown, bombshell messages have revealed.

WhatsApp messages shared between the ex-SNP leader and her top adviser Liz Lloyd shown at the Covid inquiry demonstrated the utter disdain with which the then-prime minister was held.

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Johnson’s address announcing a second national lockdown on 31 October 2020 was “f****** excruciating” and “awful”.

She told Ms Lloyd: “His utter incompetence in every sense is now offending me on behalf of politicians everywhere”, adding: “He is a f****** clown.”

The shocking new messages shared at the inquiry also revealed the extent to which Ms Sturgeon and her officials discussed the political implications of pandemic policies.

The SNP government has come under fire in recent days after messages revealed top officials had discussed how to use the Covid crisis to forward the cause of Scottish independence.

Ms Lloyd told Ms Sturgeon she wanted a “good old-fashioned rammy” with the Tory government so she could “think about something other than sick people”.

Nicola Sturgeon’s former top adviser Liz Lloyd arrived at Covid inquiry

(Getty Images)

The top adviser told Ms Sturgeon she had “set a timetable” for the UK government to answer the Scottish government on the furlough scheme as a “purely political” move in the November 2020 messages.

Ms Sturgeon replied to her top adviser: “Yeah, I get it. And it might be worth doing. I’ve sent a rough formulation of what I might say tomorrow.”

Asked if she was looking for a spat, Ms Lloyd replied: “I was looking for a spat with a purpose.”

Handwritten notes also showed Ms Lloyd suggested a possible strategy of “calling for things” that the Scottish government could not do to “force the UK government to do things”.

Ms Lloyd told the inquiry that the Scottish government were “clearly not complimentary” about the UK government’s way of communicating new rules with the public. “We had to mitigate the chaos that appeared around some of the decisions they took.”

Discussing calls between the government, she said Mr Johnson “wasn’t well briefed, he wasn’t listening – engagement with him became slightly pointless”. Ms Lloyd added: “They didn’t get us anywhere.”

Sturgeon is under huge scrutiny over her use of private emails and deletion of messages

(PA Wire)

Last week, it emerged from Sturgeon cabinet meeting minutes from June 2020 that her ministers agreed to consider how the Covid crisis could be used to boost support for Scottish independence.

Her ministers “agreed that consideration be given to restarting work on independence and a referendum” with the case updated based on “arguments reflecting the experience of the coronavirus crisis”.

The Scottish Tories said it was “disgusting” to use the crisis to “further plans to break up the United Kingdom”.

Ms Sturgeon’s use of private party emails is set to be further examined, as Scottish Labour calls for an investigation into the ex-SNP boss’s communications.

The then-first minister had provided a public health expert with an SNP email address – saying she could be contacted “privately”. She told Prof Devi Sridhar: “Don’t worry about protocol”.

Boris Johnson was ‘perhaps the worst PM in our lifetime,’ says Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Dame Jackie Baillie has written to Scotland’s permanent secretary asking him to investigate the issue.

But a source close to Ms Sturgeon denied concealment – saying any emails relevant to the pandemic she received in her private inbox “were passed to the Scottish government”.

Ms Sturgeon has also come under fire after the inquiry heard that she had erased messages sent and received during the pandemic.

The ex-SNP leader previously suggested that she had never used informal messages to make Covid decisions. It then emerged that messages were routinely deleted. But Ms Sturgeon has insisted that informal messages deleted on her own devices were later obtained and submitted to the inquiry.

Humza Yousaf will give evidence on Thursday afternoon

(PA Wire)

First minister and SNP leader Humza Yousaf is due to give evidence to the inquiry later today, amid ongoing scrutiny about his use of masks during pandemic.

In a November 2021 WhatsApp exchange, Mr Yousaf asked national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch about the mask rules ahead of an event he was attending.

Covid rules in Scotland meant people would not have to wear a mask if they were sitting down to eat or drink – but would if they were moving around a bar or restaurant while not drinking.

Prof Leitch told Mr Yousaf to “have a drink in your hands at ALL times” then he would be “exempt” from wearing a mask – but he denied he had given Mr Yousaf a way to “get out” of the rules.

A spokesperson for Mr Yousaf later said the exchange “simply shows the then health secretary seeking specific, up-to-date guidance from a senior adviser to ensure he was complying with the Covid rules”.

Meanwhile, Ms Lloyd denied that a decision about guest limits on weddings showed she was involved in making up policy was made “on the hoof”. She was shown messages exchanged on 22 September, 2020, where Ms Sturgeon said: “We haven’t thought about weddings.”

A media briefing was then delayed so a decision could be made to keep wedding and funeral numbers at 20. Ms Lloyd said a decision taken to change numbers would be “on the hoof”, but “sticking with a decision already taken was more coherent”.



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