Covid Inquiry Extends Cabinet Office Deadline for Boris’s WhatsApps mdi-fullscreen

The Covid inquiry has shifted the Cabinet Office’s deadline to hand over Boris’s notes and WhatsApp messages by 48 hours. The initial deadline was 4 p.m. this afternoon – now it’s set for Thursday. Despite an initial request to delay it until at least 5th June…

Either way, the Cabinet Office insists it doesn’t even have the WhatsApps in the first place. The Inquiry’s announcement this morning says:

“…the Inquiry was informed that the Cabinet Office does not have in its possession either Mr Johnson’s WhatsApp messages or Mr Johnson’s notebooks, as sought in the original section 21 Notice […] the section 21 Notice has been varied so that if theCabinet Office maintains its position that it does not hold specified materials, it mustprovide in substitute a witness statement from a senior civil servant, verified by a statement of truth…”

Ministers claimed yesterday that handing over “unambiguously irrelevant” documents would be a “serious intrusion of privacy”. Now apparently the Cabinet Office doesn’t actually have them…

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Boris tells Guido:

“Mr Johnson has no objection to disclosing material to the Inquiry. He has done so and will continue to do so. The decision to challenge the Inquiry’s position on redactions is for the Cabinet Office.”


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