NICOLA Sturgeon has been branded the “Richard Nixon of Scottish politics” by veteran right-wing broadcaster Andrew Neil.

The former BBC presenter and newspaper editor turned pundit claimed Sturgeon had cried at the Covid inquiry this week because “her reputation is now in tatters”.

Taking to Twitter/X, Neil accused the former first minister of being “discredited forever by a career-destroying cover up” by deleting her WhatsApp messages.

She had previously pledged to retain her private emails, WhatsApps and any other material the inquiry may have considered relevant in its examination of the Government’s response to Covid-19.

Neil wrote: “Nicola Sturgeon is the Richard Nixon of Scottish politics. Wins by a landslide then humbled and discredited forever by a career-destroying cover up.

“Two matters need underlining: 1. When she haughtily told the Channel 4 reporter that of course she would submit her WhatsApp messages to the inquiry she was ALREADY deleting them. Doesn’t get worse than that.

“2. She says she was following government guidelines by deleting — her phone could fall into wrong hands etc. We’ve never seen these guidelines or discovered who told her to follow these protocols.

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“But it’s a nonsense anyway since it would surely mean the emails and other messages on her phone should have been deleted too for that sort of security risk. They weren’t.

“Her reputation is now in tatters. She knows that. That’s why she cried.”

Speaking at the Covid inquiry in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Sturgeon rejected claims she had attempted to politicise the pandemic by diverging from England, saying: "I was motivated solely by trying to do the best we could to keep people as safe as possible."

Nixon remains the only US president to have resigned from office, after his attempts to cover up the Watergate scandal, which saw White House officials order a break-in at the offices of their political rivals.

He attempted to cover up the scandal but resigned in 1974 facing almost certain impeachment and removal from office.

Neil currently serves as chairman of The Spectator, a position he has said he will quit if the magazine and its sister title The Daily Telegraph are taken over by a firm backed by the United Arab Emirates.