NICOLA Sturgeon and John Swinney, the former first and deputy first ministers, are among the Scottish Government figures who will give evidence to the inquiry into the UK’s handling of the Covid pandemic.

The two top SNP figures will be joined by former colleagues including Jeane Freeman, who was Scottish health secretary for much of the pandemic response.

They will face questions on how the UK and Scotland specifically responded to the outbreak of Covid-19, which led to multiple global lockdowns after it was first detected in China in late 2019.

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Caroline Lamb, who has been chief executive of NHS Scotland since January 2021, and Catherine Calderwood, who was Scotland’s chief medical officer (CMO) during the early stages of the pandemic, will also face questions.

Sturgeon and Swinney will appear before the inquiry in London on June 29, with Lamb, Calderwood, and Freeman appearing the day before.

Calderwood was forced to resign as CMO just weeks into the first lockdown after travelling to her second home in Fife. She was replaced by Dr Gregor Smith. 

Matt Hancock, the former Tory health secretary, will be quizzed by the inquiry on June 27. He was also forced to resign after a leaked video showed him breaking Covid rules by having an affair in his ministerial office. 

The inquiry has made headlines amid a legal battle with the UK Government over the release of Boris Johnson’s WhatsApps.

The inquiry’s chair, Baroness Heather Hallett, had requested Johnson’s WhatsApp messages and notebooks to be handed over in their entirety – but the Cabinet Office insisted that it could redact parts which it deemed to be irrelevant.

Leaders of the devolved administrations, including Sturgeon, were also issued with requests.

Counsel acting on behalf of Scottish ministers said Sturgeon did not have any informal correspondence – which could include private messages, emails or diaries – that were relevant to the handling of the pandemic.

Aamer Anwar, lead solicitor for the Scottish Covid Bereaved group, said it should be a matter for inquiry officials to determine what information is considered relevant.

On Wednesday, deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden told the Covid inquiry that preparations for a No-Deal Brexit had helped the UK respond to the pandemic