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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Deadline to Furnish Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp Texts to Covid Inquiry Extended 

The deadline for submitting the details has been extended

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Hrishita Chatterjee
Hrishita Chatterjee
Covering culture and trending topics

UNITED KINGDOM: The government has been given more time to provide the Covid inquiry with unredacted copies of Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages, journals, and notebooks. So instead, today at 16:00 BST, the Cabinet Office has until Thursday to provide the details of the inquiry.

In addition to WhatsApp messages between Johnson and cabinet ministers, advisors, and senior civil servants, the material also consists of 24 notebooks with detailed notes. In announcing the extension, the inquiry revealed that it had been informed by the Cabinet Office that the WhatsApp messages and notebooks were not present in its ownership.

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The department must instead provide its communications with Johnson concerning the topic if it still lacks material by Thursday’s inquiry. The material that the Cabinet Office does not currently have was not affirmed by sources. PM Rishi Sunak mentions that the government was “carefully considering its position, but it is confident in the approach that it’s taking”.

Some of the information, according to its argument, is completely unconnected to the investigation. According to the investigation, it would be a misdemeanour to withhold the unredacted material. One of the people who will testify at the inquiry’s hearings, which will initiate in two weeks, is the former prime minister. 

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Liberal Democrat’s health spokeswoman, Daisy Cooper, states, “It looks like Rishi Sunak is too worried about upsetting Boris Johnson and his allies to do the right thing.”

According to Downing Street, some of the information, such as personal messages or content unassociated with the pandemic, is “unambiguously irrelevant” to the investigation, and it lacks the power to compel the government to disclose it.

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The government is concerned that the unredacted messages would expose personal data and violate privacy laws. The courts might decide what information is available after a legal dispute between the government and the inquiry.

Public hearings for the inquiry are slated to commence in two weeks with sessions on the nation’s pandemic preparedness. With an emphasis on topics like the use of lockdowns, judgment processes, and safeguards for the medically susceptible, it seeks to draw findings from how the government managed the pandemic.

Also Read: Rishi Sunak Issues a Warning about a Potential UK Recession in 2024


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