Nicola Sturgeon gives evidence at UK Covid inquiry – live

Key events

Whatsapp had become – maybe – too common a means of communication in governement, says Sturgeon.

But she insists that government decisions were not being taken on the platform.

One of the reasons why she doesn’t believe it should be used for government decision making is that when politicians make public statements they should think very carefully about the scope for what they say being misinterpreted.

“When you send things on Whatsapp you sometimes don’t think – including me – very carefully about how they can be interpreted,” she adds.

Updated at 05.23 EST

Speaking about previous messages which the Inquiry has seen, Sturgeon says she is not sure if she has seen any messages which contained material that the Scottish public would not otherwise have seen.

“It might be for the Scottish public to judge,” interjects Jamie Dawson KC, for the Inquiry.

“Of course..” replies Sturgeon, who insists that it was an “open conversation” with the public throughout the pandemic.

The Whatsapp issue has come up with haste and Sturgeon says that she was never a member of any Whatsapp groups and interacted through “informal messaging systems” with no more than a dozen people.

Principally, she would have communicated with her former chief of staff Liz Lloyd and Humza Yousaf, her successor as Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader but who was a member of her government at the time.

Communication of that nature was not used by me for anything other than routine exchanges and would have been “littered” with things like “there’s a note coming from me to you.”

Sturgeon says she operated on the basis that she would ensure that anything in communications of an important nature was otherwise recorded on the Scottish government system.

Updated at 05.15 EST

Is it still your position today that you and the Scottish government were open “open, transparent and accountable” not just in your actions but in your words?, asks Jamie Dawson KC

“Yes, that is still my position. Openess and transparency with the Scottish public was very important to me from the outset,” says Sturgeon.

There will have been misjudgements and there will have been – on reflection – instances on which we could have done better, she adds.

“You are Nicola Sturgeon,” the former SNP leader is asked after she takes her seat.

“I am..”

And with that the questioning is underway. Sturgeon confirms she has provided some additional material to the inquiry last week, in addition to her earlier statements.

Question immediately focuses on communications during the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon gives evidence at UK Covid inquiry

Ben Quinn

Ben Quinn

Nicola Sturgeon, the former Scottish First Minister, is appearing before the Covid Inquiry in Edinburgh in what is the biggest day of the probe’s focus on that part of the UK.

For long the pre-eminent figure in Scottish politics, Sturgeon has experienced a dramatic fall from grace in the time since she was at the helm of her government’s response to the pandemic.

But while she was lauded by many at the time, she faces a range of awkward questions during an examination that is likely to see her draw on all of her experience as a lawyer and political representative.

Those questions are likely to cover the following areas, and more:

The inquiry has previously heard that the former SNP leaded did not retain any of her Whatsapp messages. Why?

Sturgeon had pledged to hand over all of her communications from the pandemic. In what circumstances did they disappear or were deleted?

Guidance on the use of Whatsapp was issued by the Scottish government in 2021. Did she follow those rules and, if not, why not?

Sturgon has been accused of seeking to use the pandemic as a way of leveraging support for Scottish independence. Did she seek to deliberately engage in a politically self-serving row with the UK government over issues such as the Furlough Scheme?

This covering her answers to those questions – and anything else – on this liveblog, along with in-person reporting at the Inquiry from my colleagues Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks.

Updated at 05.05 EST