NICOLA Sturgeon described Boris Johnson as a “f****** clown” in WhatsApp messages sent to her then chief of staff Liz Lloyd.

She also said that the then prime minister's “incompetence in every sense is now offending me on behalf of politicians everywhere”.

It comes as Lloyd gives evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry with Humza Yousaf set to give evidence on Thursday afternoon.

The National:

The messages also revealed Sturgeon saying Boris Johnson's comms "are [beyond] awful" before she added: "We're not perfect but we don't get nearly enough credit for how much better than them we are."

Lloyd meanwhile said she was "offended on behalf of special advisers everywhere".

Asked if there was a perception among the wider Scottish Government that they were doing better than the UK Government, Lloyd said: "I think this refers specifically to the communications aspect of the response. 

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"That's sometimes dismissed but communications is very important in a public health situation. People need to know what to do and why and to understand it and to trust in it and this was the end result of a day that had been quite shambolic in the UK Government and that has an impact on what people see and think in Scotland about the pandemic overall. 

"So while he was announcing something that was not relevant to Scotland, the sort of chaos that appeared around some of the decisions they took, we then had to work hard to mitigate because people in Scotland see both. 

"And so we were clearly not very complimentary about their communications handling that day."

Asked more specifically if the relationship between then first minister Sturgeon and Johnson had broken down, Lloyd said this "to a degree overstates what was there to break".

The National: Former prime minister Boris Johnson is fighting for his political future (Victoria Jones/PA)

She continued: "They had met on a number of occasions, there was always a politeness, a business-like approach to it and when Boris Johnson (above) first became PM and came to meet Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland, they had a discussion that I think has been described more like a debate.

"It was two intelligent people engaged in discussion about policy issues."

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Lloyd added that when it came to Covid, it was "evident in his exchanges with the Scottish Government" that Johnson "wasn't listening" while on calls with devolved administrations. 

"I think engagement with him came to be seen as slightly pointless during this period."