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Cabinet Office accused of withholding Boris Johnson WhatsApps from Covid inquiry

Cabinet Office accused of withholding Boris Johnson WhatsApps from Covid inquiry


The government has been accused of refusing to hand over Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages and other evidence to the official Covid survey.

In response, the investigation threatened legal action to force the release of the information.

The inquest wants to see material, including 24 notebooks kept by Johnson during the pandemic.

He also requested access to Johnson’s unredacted messages from 40 people, including Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock, Dominic Raab, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and other senior ministers, officials and aides.

But Downing Street rejected the request, insisting the government was providing all evidence relevant to the inquiry but was under no obligation to disclose anything unambiguously irrelevant.

The inquiry gave the government until 4 p.m. on May 30 to comply with its legal order.

Angela Rayner, deputy Labor leader, said the fact the inquiry had to resort to invoking its legal powers to compel the handing over of documents suggests this is a government with a lot to hide .

Rather than fighting legal battles to withhold evidence, it is essential that ministers now comply so the public can find out the truth and those responsible can be held accountable, she said.

In a letter to the inquest, Johnson said it was unfair and wrong to suggest he personally refused to provide the evidence.

I have always sought to comply with all disclosure requests from the investigation and have already released over 5,000 pages of documents and over 300 pages of emails, he said.

Johnson told the inquest he had dropped his government-appointed lawyers and was now loading new lawyers.

He made the decision after being referred to the police by the Cabinet Office after officials discovered entries in his diary which may suggest more rules were broken during the lockdown.

The former prime minister’s allies said Johnson had lost faith in the objectivity of the Cabinet Office and its leaders.

According to the Times, Johnsons newspaper rrevealed friends’ visits to Checkers during the pandemic and new allegations about behavior in Downing Street.

The diary was examined by lawyers so that elements could be provided to the investigation.

Johnson claimed the decision to turn him over to the police was a politically motivated decision by some in government.

The events in question all complied with the rules, either because they took place outdoors or because they fell under another legal exception. They include regular meetings with officials and advisers, his office said.

The Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police confirmed they received documents relating to potential breaches of the Health Protection Regulations between June 2020 and May 2021.




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