Families ‘scunnered’ with Humza Yousaf inquiry evidence

Families who lost loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic have said they were “scunnered” with First Minister Humza Yousaf’s evidence to the inquiry on Thursday and said it had given them “no answers”.

The First Minister gave evidence to the UK Covid-19 inquiry on Thursday where he made an “unreserved apology” to families over the Scottish Government’s handling of WhatsApp messages exchanged throughout the pandemic.

Lee Dodds, from the Scottish Covid Bereaved group, said it was hard to listen to the evidence given on Thursday.

His son, also named Lee Dodds, died in 2021 when he was just 32.

He said: “They go on about the WhatsApps, everything disappears and they don’t know how.

“I was just scunnered with it.

“I was getting bored listening to it about who was to blame, somebody else.

“But nothing about what happened to our loved ones.

“There was nothing there for us bar them blaming it on other people.

“And for me that wasn’t good enough for my son.

“I wanted answers but I didn’t get any.”

Maggie Watterton lost both her husband and mother during the pandemic.

She told reporters after Mr Yousaf’s evidence that his apology was “woeful”.

And she described the “rhetoric” of the Scottish Government as “very far from the reality”.

Mrs Watterton added: “They failed to act, they failed in fact to take evidence, advice from well renowned experts.

“They hid behind the empty words of the four harms framework, hid behind the mantra of reserved powers, delayed locking down in 2020, and it is obvious that ministers and officers of the government have been deleting crucial information which could materially impact the outcome of this inquiry.”

Mrs Watterton said their actions had “broken trust”.

She pleaded with both Mr Yousaf and former first minister Nicola Sturgeon to reflect on what they were doing deleting crucial evidence and their plans to reinstate independence campaigning while “people were dying in care homes”.

The inquiry, which is being held in Edinburgh before Lady Hallett, continues.