Labour is calling on the Scottish Government to fire Jason Leitch following revelations at the UK Covid inquiry.

On Tuesday, the National Clinical Director confirmed that he had not kept “informal communications in relation to the management of the pandemic in Scotland".

He insisted he had followed the official guidance as he understood it.

At the same time, he said he had expected a public inquiry "from the outbreak of the pandemic".

He was embroiled in a new row after it emerged he gave advice to Huzma Yousaf on how to dodge strict government rules on wearing facemasks.

Speaking in Holyrood, Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the evidence unearthed by the inquiry showed the government needed to sack the senior official.

She told MSPs: “Ken Thomson, the man who drafted the Scottish Government’s records management policy, was advising people how to avoid complying with it.

“The National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, who helped to shape the Covid regulations, was advising the current First Minister how to avoid the rules.

“And Nicola Sturgeon, who promised transparency, has alongside John Swinney and senior civil servants deleted WhatsApp messages on an industrial scale.

“Whether messages were deleted nightly or weekly, it is clear that Jason Leitch wiped his messages completely and seemed to find the period during the pandemic all quite funny judging from the messages we have seen.

“If the Scottish Government agrees that his behaviour was inappropriate then it is time Mr Leitch was sacked.”

East Lothian Courier: Jason Leitch has given evidence to the UK Covid-19 inquiry

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said it was unfair “to focus in this chamber on any individual.”

She added: “The inquiry is the place that should be allowed to interrogate anyone, whether it's Jason Leitch, or whether it's the former first minister, who, of course, will give evidence as well, the current First Minister, it should be for the inquiry, to be able to interrogate the evidence, whether that's on messages or decision making, or anything else.”

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the “shameful culture of secrecy” in the Scottish Government “came from the very top – with Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney, like senior officials, deleting all their pandemic messages.”

“This is the same Nicola Sturgeon who stood up at her daily briefings with a pretence of moral superiority, while, behind the scenes, her government were laughing at us as they covered their tracks,” he added.

Lib Dem leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton claimed that despite assurances made to the parliament and press, Ms Sturgeon “never had any intention of passing her WhatsApp messages, messages that would have shown the culture and the calculation behind her pandemic response to the inquiry that she knew was sure to follow.”

“Perhaps this is the biggest scandal in the history of devolution,” he added. “The denial of justice to the bereaved families of the pandemic.”

There was also criticism from bereaved family members.

Speaking at a press conference outside the inquiry venue at Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Caroleanne Stewart, of Scottish Covid Bereaved, questioned why Mr Leitch was “still in a job”.

Ms Stewart, whose brother died from Covid-19 in 2020, told journalists: “I would just like to say he was a very confident man, but when he left, he wasn’t so confident because he was caught out, not only by King’s Counsel and the judge, and we are very grateful for that.”

Ms Stewart said it was “heart-breaking” to hear the revelations in Tuesday’s evidence.

She added: “I was once one of the ones sat at home, listening to the podium every morning and saying: ‘Oh my god, thank god we’re not in England’.

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“I trusted them, I felt him and Nicola Sturgeon were honest and trying to be open with us and to find out that was all just a facade, I don’t understand how they can hold their head up high.

“I don’t understand how they are still in a job. That’s our money. We voted (for) these people and they shouldn’t be there, none of them should be there.”

The Scottish Covid Bereaved's solicitor Aamer Anwar said there had been an outbreak of "selective amnesia on the promises made by the Scottish Government."

He added: "But there is no conspiracy, no smear, it is by her own words that the former first minister Nicola Sturgeon is being judged.

“Let me make it clear, we act without fear or favour, the bereaved fight to give the many thousands who lost their lives to covid a voice, and to ensure that there is a legacy, that can only happen if they have the truth.”