DURING the Covid pandemic, I was contacted by families and friends of those who died or fell seriously ill after contracting Covid in hospital or in a care home.

No government was ever going to get everything right in such a fast-paced, unprecedented public health emergency. But I have concerns about the way the SNP Government under Nicola Sturgeon and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman managed the discharge of frail and elderly people into social care during the pandemic.

My concern, and the concern of bereaved families, is that SNP ministers knew there was a clear risk of exacerbating the spread of Covid by discharging Covid positive or untested patients into care homes.

The purpose of setting up a specific public inquiry was to give these families answers – and hopefully closure – to allow them to grieve the relatives they lost. It is therefore entirely understandable that the same families are left outraged and insulted at the news ministers and civil servants, including the national clinical director Jason Leitch, have deleted WhatsApp messages related to the pandemic response.

As early as May 2020, the Scottish Government knew it was highly likely there would be an inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.

First Minister Humza Yousaf insists the Scottish Government did not make Covid-related decisions via WhatsApp. He insists that all “relevant” information will be handed over.

But why is it for him, and not the inquiry and its legal teams, to determine what is relevant? They are surely better qualified than politicians, some of whom have apparently deleted those messages altogether.

In East Lothian, and right across Scotland, the families of those who died deserve answers. At Holyrood, I will continue to press Scottish Ministers for these answers.