A FORMER top adviser to Nicola Sturgeon has said she did not spend as much time working on independence as “much as people would have thought or would have liked”.

Liz Lloyd, who was the former first minister’s top aide, admitted that Yessers “might be disappointed about what my answer is” when asked about her work on independence strategy at the UK Covid Inquiry.

It comes after Cabinet minutes from June 2020 showed ministers had agreed to give consideration as to how the pandemic had changed the arguments for independence.

READ MORE: Scottish Government discussed how Covid changed case for independence

Speaking at the inquiry on Thursday, Lloyd was asked if it would be “fair to say” that she had “spent a lot of [her] career strategising about Scottish independence”.

She replied: “I think supporters of Scottish independence might be disappointed about what my answer is, but not as much as people would have thought or would have liked.

“A large part of my political career has been spent strategising about what the Scottish Government does in other policy areas. But yes, I have had a role throughout in the progress of Scottish independence.”

The National: Nicola Sturgeon and Liz Lloyd

The inquiry also saw messages between Sturgeon and Lloyd (above, left) which showed the then-first minister calling Boris Johnson a “f***ing clown” over WhatsApp.

Sturgeon also told Lloyd: “His utter incompetence in every sense is now offending me on behalf of politicians everywhere.”

Other messages read out at the inquiry showed Lloyd and Sturgeon discussing the merits of starting a “good old-fashioned rammy” over furlough for “purely political” reasons.

Lloyd told the then first minister that she had “set a timetable” for the UK Government to answer the Scottish Government on furlough as a “purely political” move in the messages between herself and Sturgeon on November 1, 2020.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon called Boris Johnson a 'f****** clown', WhatsApp messages reveal

Sturgeon said: “Yeah, I get it. And it might be worth doing. I’ve sent a rough formulation of what I might say tomorrow.”

Speaking at the inquiry, the former chief of staff defended the move, saying it was a tactic to attempt to get the UK Government to change course on decisions.

Lloyd said: “I was looking for a spat with a purpose.

“It had been shown in the past that they would sometimes change their mind if they felt that pressure and I wanted them to change their mind.”

Handwritten notes shown earlier in evidence showed Lloyd suggesting a possible strategy of “calling for things” that the Scottish Government could not do to “force the UK Government to do things”.