Former Prime Minister of The United Kingdom, Boris Johnson’s long-awaited WhatsApp messages from his old phone will finally be handed over unredacted to the COVID inquiry, as confirmed by his spokesperson.
The spokesperson stated, “The timing of any further progress on delivery to the inquiry is therefore under the Cabinet Office’s control.”
The COVID inquiry, led by its chair, Baroness Hallett, had utilized a section 21 notice in May to request all of Mr. Johnson’s unreacted WhatsApps, diaries, and notebooks.
After a legal dispute with the Cabinet Office over the necessity of the messages, the inquiry’s deadline was missed.
Mr. Johnson’s spokesperson assured that he was always willing to cooperate with the inquiry and take necessary steps to retrieve the requested material.
“A careful process approved by the inquiry has been followed to ensure that this was successful,” the spokesperson added.
Initially, Johnson’s old phone was kept switched off due to security concerns, as the number had been publicly available on the internet for years.
However, after getting clearance from security services to turn on the device, reports suggested he had forgotten his passcode.
The High Court ruled in the chair’s favor earlier this month, and the department promised to comply.
Now, it appears Mr. Johnson can also hand over all the remaining material required by the inquiry.
As the inquiry progresses, the retrieved WhatsApp messages are likely to shed light on key aspects of the government’s response during the pandemic, providing crucial insights for a comprehensive assessment.