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Release of Derogatory Text Messages Between Humza Yousaf and Jason Leitch

Offensive WhatsApp exchanges between Scotland's Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and National Clinical Director Jason Leitch have been disclosed by the UK Covid Inquiry. The messages contain derogatory comments about opposition party members.
Leitch referred to a female Labour MSP dismissively and criticized a Conservative MSP's behavior. Yousaf used profane language to criticize former Labour MSP Neil Findlay and made a self-deprecating joke about "winging it" as Health Secretary.

He also called the Scottish Police Federation a "disgrace" during his tenure as Justice Secretary.

Texts from former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, were also revealed, including an instance where Sturgeon insulted then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Lloyd expressed a desire for conflict with the UK government as a strategic move to achieve results. Lloyd submitted these messages to the inquiry after Sturgeon had reportedly not preserved any from the pandemic period.

Yousaf apologized before the inquiry for the Scottish government's mishandling of text message requests and announced an external review of their use of messaging apps.

Documents released by the inquiry included messages where Leitch commented on Labour politicians' performance and used derogatory language. He denied giving Yousaf a way to circumvent COVID rules and described a comment about deleting messages as an exaggeration.

Former MSP Findlay reacted on Twitter, criticizing Yousaf and Leitch's attitudes towards opposition MSPs. Labour demanded Leitch's dismissal due to his use of an auto-delete function for messages during the pandemic.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar condemned Leitch's personal comments and called the culture at the top "rotten." Conservative chairman Craig Hoy echoed this sentiment, suggesting Leitch's partisan behavior and message deletion were inappropriate and calling for his resignation.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, when questioned, did not dismiss the idea of Leitch apologizing. A Scottish government spokesperson declined to comment on ongoing evidence but emphasized the importance of learning from past actions.

Yousaf issued an apology for the mishandling of information requests and recognized the pain it caused to those who lost loved ones.

SNP MP Ian Blackford contrasted Scotland's transparency with the UK government's and reaffirmed the former First Minister's primary focus on leading through the crisis.

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