IN May 2020 Inverclyde had the highest Covid-19 death rate in the country at 12.7 deaths per 10,000 people.

This figure was more than double the national rate.

The families of those who sadly passed away in Inverclyde deserve to know the truth about what went so tragically wrong during Covid.

The UK and Scottish Covid Inquiries were established to help families seeking the truth about how decisions were made during the pandemic and why.

Yet last week, the UK’s Covid inquiry reported that it had not received any WhatsApp data from the Scottish Government from the time of the pandemic.

Reports suggested that an astonishing 70 politicians and officials of the Scottish Government had not disclosed messages to the inquiry.

These include former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Jason Leitch, Scotland’s National Clinical Director.

The Scottish Government has claimed that if this was to be done, a formal Section 21 order would need to be made.

This has now been received, and all informal communications will be shared with the Covid inquiry by November 6.

Although, the reality is, that this can only be the informal communications that still exist and have not already been deleted.

That’s why revelations that some officials have purposefully deleted this evidence is so scandalous and an affront to the inquiry.

The destruction of evidence is a betrayal of and insult to all those fighting for justice within our community.

It begs the following questions: Where is the transparency here? What messages have been deleted and why? And what is the government trying to hide?

This is beyond the pale for families all over the country, but especially those in Inverclyde.

I believe those families need justice and they need it as soon as possible.

This inquiry is a chance to learn the lessons of the pandemic and to get the answers and accountability that people deserve. It’s our governments job to do that, not stand in the way of it.