Hamster-faced Douglas Ross looked fit to burst. The Scottish Tory leader backed Boris Johnson once. Or was it twice? But our feral-viral-chaos-spiral PM isn’t in charge anymore.
So Mr Ross cast irony aside and grilled Mr Yousaf about Covid shenanigans instead.
Last week, Mr Yousaf said the Inquiry asked his Government for WhatsApp messages in September, hence them only being handed over now.
The Inquiry didn’t like that, and made the Government admit it was first asked in February but sat on its message horde until badgered into disclosure.
Mr Ross asked the FM to admit he “didn’t tell the truth”. Mr Yousaf pretended he had.
“I absolutely refute that,” he said. “Clearly, I was talking about specific WhatsApp groups.”
Actually, he was talking about the same messages the Inquiry asked for in February – but didn’t get – then asked for again in September. But why get all truthy now?
“Rubbish,” jeered the Tory benches. Not, for once, at Mr Ross.
As a sop to reality, Mr Yousaf admitted the Government interpreted the February request “too narrowly” and apologised.
Too narrowly? The Government had 14,000 WhatsApps. It interpreted the request in such a way that it handed over absolutely none of them.
Any more narrow and the Inquiry would have owed them messages.
As the opposition quaked with laughter, Mr Yousaf was defiant.
“We do not fear scrutiny,” he insisted from somewhere under his desk.
“That was a very brave answer,” said Mr Ross. “The two most senior people in the Scottish Government stated the UK Covid inquiry only requested the messages in September.
“It was not a slip of the tongue, and it was not an honest mistake; it was deliberate.
“Why did Humza Yousaf and the SNP make those false claims?”
At least I wasn’t in a government with BoJo, said the First Minister.
“He is a man whom Douglas Ross claimed was honest. Douglas Ross should be ashamed of himself for his defence of Boris Johnson.”
Mr Ross said Mr Yousaf should be ashamed of pretty much everything else in life.
Labour’s Anas Sarwar floated the intriguing suggestion that ministers used their SNP email to communicate with each other on the sly about Covid.
Had any emails from SNP accounts been handed to the Inquiry?
Mr Yousaf said it was his “expectation” that any emails would be handed over, but made no promises, even about his own.
Better reset your watches to email o’clock.