Boris Johnson says he has handed over Covid WhatsApps

3 months ago 54

Boris JohnsonImage source, PA Media

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Mr Johnson's spokesperson said the Cabinet Office has had entree to the unredacted documents for "months"

Former premier curate Boris Johnson says helium has fixed the UK authorities each the WhatsApp messages and notebooks demanded by the Covid-19 inquiry.

Mr Johnson is urging the authorities to manus the worldly to the enquiry successful afloat without redactions.

The inquiry, which begins nationalist hearings successful 2 weeks, is investigating however ministers handled the pandemic.

The authorities has truthful acold refused to manus implicit worldly it does not see relevant.

The Covid enquiry has fixed the Cabinet Office - the section that supports the premier curate successful moving the authorities - until 16:00 BST connected Thursday to disclose each of the accusation it has requested.

The Cabinet Office has argued that ministers indispensable person the close to sermon policies successful backstage and says a starring lawyer is successful the process of deciding what is applicable to the inquiry.

But the inquiry's chairwoman, crossbench adjacent Baroness Hallett, said it was her role, not that of the government, to determine what was relevant.

The standoff could pb to a ineligible conflict betwixt the Cabinet Office and the inquiry, with the courts deciding what worldly is made available.

Some elder Conservative MPs person urged the authorities to backmost down to debar a lengthy ineligible showdown.

William Wragg, president of a parliamentary committee connected law affairs, told the BBC: "If the enquiry requests documents and info - past whoever it has asked should comply."

Mr Johnson's spokesperson has said the erstwhile PM would manus implicit the worldly straight to the Covid enquiry if asked.

Cabinet Office sources person stressed that individuals are astatine liberty to stock immoderate accusation with the enquiry team, truthful Mr Johnson could take to manus things implicit directly.

The exception, they say, are documents specified arsenic authorities diaries which they reason immoderate authorities would request to look astatine for nationalist information reasons.

Mr Johnson's spokesperson has claimed that the Cabinet Office has had entree to each these unredacted documents for "months", but has said the erstwhile PM handed implicit much worldly connected Wednesday.

"While Mr Johnson understands the government's position, and does not question to contradict it, helium is perfectly blessed for the enquiry to person entree to this worldly successful immoderate signifier it requires," the spokesperson said.

Officials studying worldly

The Cabinet Office said it had received the worldly from Mr Johnson and "officials are looking astatine it".

The worldly includes 24 notebooks with contemporaneous notes, arsenic good arsenic his diaries and WhatsApp messages betwixt Mr Johnson and furniture ministers, advisers and elder civilian servants.

The enquiry said connected Tuesday it had been told the Cabinet Office did not person entree to each the accusation it had been asked for.

Cabinet Office sources accidental the crushed for this, contrary to what Mr Johnson has claimed, is due to the fact that the erstwhile PM was antecedently moving with lawyers employed by the authorities who were moving done his notebooks, diaries and WhatsApp messages.

But they accidental erstwhile Mr Johnson chopped ties with those lawyers, the Cabinet Office mislaid entree to those documents.

The BBC has been told the Cabinet Office ineligible squad visited Mr Johnson's bureau to inspect the notebooks.

The Liberal Democrats urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to taxable the worldly requested by the enquiry and to halt utilizing Mr Johnson "as an excuse to debar handing implicit captious evidence".

There has been friction betwixt Mr Sunak's authorities and Mr Johnson implicit the Cabinet Office's determination to refer him to police implicit further imaginable Covid regularisation breaches during the pandemic.

The Cabinet Office said it made the referral pursuing a reappraisal of his authoritative diary by authorities lawyers arsenic portion of the Covid inquiry.

The erstwhile PM has dismissed claims of immoderate breaches arsenic a "politically motivated stitch-up".

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