BONFIRE night may not yet be upon us but the fireworks have started early at Holyrood.

The row over the materials handed over to the UK Covid Inquiry by the Scottish Government continues into its second week, with both the Scottish Tory and Labour leader making it the focus of their questions at FMQs on Thursday.

Douglas Ross began by asking the First Minister why, given that the Scottish Government was told to retain all messages relevant to the pandemic in June 2021, it introduced a policy five months later to destroy WhatsApp messages.

He described this as ‘’the digital equivalent of building a bonfire to torch the evidence.’’ In response, the First Minister said the policy was a general policy around mobile messaging.

‘’It was made very clear to officials…that any information that was relevant or could be potentially relevant to the inquiries should be retained. That is why 14,000 WhatsApp messages are in the process of being handed over’’ he said.

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Humza Yousaf then made a promise to hand over his own WhatsApp messages from the time, in full and unredacted and made a comparison between that pledge and the behaviour of Boris Johnson, who is still refusing to hand over his WhatsApp messages.

Talk then turned to Nicola Sturgeon and previous assurances she had given that all messages would be handed over to the inquiry.

Time is short and winter is coming, so I’ll just summarise the exchange between the party leaders.

Douglas Ross: ‘’Nicola Sturgeon is the worst!’’

Humza Yousaf: ‘’Nicola Sturgeon is the best!’’

I, for one, would like to search through the WhatsApp history of both men for mentions of the former First Minister to read the unredacted versions of both sentiments.

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Shortly after this, the chuntering began. Stephen Kerr was named as one of the culprits – and was asked by the presiding officer to ‘’cease shouting from your seat’’ - but members across the aisle were also at it.

This might be because they feel passionately about the subject at hand and are keen to show vocal support for their respective party leaders.

Or, as is far more likely, they want to see just how noisy they have to be to convince the ever-patient Alison Johnstone to finally use her wee gavel.

‘’I cannot believe that Humza Yousaf has just stood up and, in the strongest possible way, defended Nicola Sturgeon, who has been accused of deleting vital WhatsApp messages!’’ bellowed Douglas Ross.

His self-professed disbelief at the notion that a politician might launch into a partisan defence of somebody from their own side would ring more true if Douglas Ross himself hadn’t been so infamously indecisive about whether serial liar and lawbreaker Boris Johnson should resign.

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Anas Sarwar was up next and he accused the First Minister of ‘’dodging responsibility’’ over the messages row.

“The harsh reality is this, the First Minister has lost control of his government. He doesn’t know how many ministers or officials have complied with the do not destroy notice, he doesn’t know how many have deleted messages.’’

He said the First Minister had promised that his government and officials would hand over all messages and asked “should we conclude that his word means nothing?’’

The fiery session ended with an ‘’unequivocal guarantee’’ from the First Minister that ‘’the messages that we have retained will absolutely be handed over and handed over in full.’’

You could tell by the outraged shouts of ‘’have retained?’’ from opposition backbenchers that this is a subject we are likely to return to at next week’s FMQs.