Nicola Sturgeon branded Boris Johnson a “f*****g clown” in a foul-mouthed Covid rant, messages between the former First Minister and her chief of staff have revealed.
A number of messages between Sturgeon and Liz Lloyd have been disclosed by the UK’s Covid Inquiry.
The ex-First Minister, who resigned from Bute House last year, deleted her WhatsApp messages.
However, Lloyd retained the texts and they were presented as evidence.
Boris Johnson was labelled a ‘f*****g clown’ by Nicola Sturgeon
Despite the Scottish Government claiming texts were not used to discuss substantive issues, the messages showed the pair discussing crucial policy decisions.
Sturgeon’s expletive rant about Johnson came as she watched the then-Prime Minister announce a second national lockdown in England on Halloween in 2020.
She described the address as “excruciating” and labelled the UK Government’s communications as “awful”.
Sturgeon told Lloyd: “His utter incompetence in every sense is now offending me on behalf of politicians everywhere.”
Lloyd replied that she was “offended” on behalf of special advisers.
Nicola Sturgeon’s former chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, arrives at the Covid inquiry at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Sturgeon interjected by adding: “He is a f*****g clown.”
Other messages showed the pair debating a decision to limit the number of guests permitted to attend weddings.
The decision was made at a briefing at 2.20pm, 130 minutes after the briefing was scheduled to take place.
Usman Tariq, junior counsel to the inquiry, asked Lloyd: “Is this not an example of a decision that was made very much at the last minute over WhatsApp between you and Nicola Sturgeon?”
Lloyd said she did not view it as such because the decision had already been made in Cabinet.
She added that Sturgeon had not considered changing the number of people allowed at weddings in response to changes by the UK Government.
The messages also showed Sturgeon pursuing a “purely political” move to set a timetable for Johnson to answer the Scottish Government on extending the furlough scheme.
Sturgeon said: “Yeah, I get it. And it might be worth doing.
“I’ve sent a rough formulation of what I might say tomorrow.”
The ex-First Minister will appear before the inquiry next Wednesday to answer questions about her leadership and the decisions made during the pandemic.