SCOTLAND'S Deputy First Minister has confirmed the appointment of a new chair of Scotland's official inquiry into Covid-19.

John Swinney announced that Judge Lord Brailsford will take over from Lady Poole, who resigned suddenly in early October after 10 months in the role.

Lord Brailsford will take over from Friday.

Lady Poole quit citing "personal reasons" but it later emerged that four of the inquiry's counsel had quit the day before her resignation.

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Swinney said he was in "no doubt" Lord Brailsford had the necessary "leadership skills, integrity and experience" needed for the inquiry.

He also announced a change to the inquiry which means it will take a more human rights-based approach.

Swinney said: “The Scottish Government wants the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry to be delivered at speed and to address the range of questions that people have – the bereaved, in particular – so that we can learn lessons and benefit from them as early as possible.

"That is why arrangements for identifying a new judicial Chair for the Inquiry have been taken forward urgently to ensure a swift and successful transition.

“From my own and the First Minister’s interactions with Lord Brailsford, I am in no doubt that he has the necessary leadership skills, integrity and experience to continue the work of this Inquiry.

“I am grateful to Lady Poole for the important work she has undertaken since the establishment of this Inquiry. I thank Lady Poole for her work and wish her well.”

Lord Brailsford said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as the independent Chair of the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry.

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"The pandemic impacted everyone across the country to some degree. There is barely a family, business or organisation that wasn’t affected in some way.

"This inquiry seeks to find out whether anything could or even should have be done differently and what lessons can be learned for the future.

“The public are rightly looking for answers and no more so than the loved ones of the nearly 16,000 people in Scotland who died during this pandemic. I am immensely aware of the enormous responsibility this places on me and the inquiry.

"I promise the families, that along with the inquiry team, I will work independently to establish the facts and ensure the inquiry thoroughly examines the decisions taken throughout the pandemic.”