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    5. Covid investigation demands to see Boris Johnson's unedited WhatsApp messages

    Politics

    Covid investigation demands to see Boris Johnson's unedited WhatsApp messages

    The investigation wants to see messaging between Boris Johnson and his ministers and advisers. Covid investigation to relay unredacted messages between Boris Johnson and ministers over lockdown decision.

    Investigation chair Baroness Hallett threatened legal action after the cabinet refused to allow WhatsApp messaging involving the former prime minister minister. .

    The investigation requested unedited copies of the former prime minister's messages, as well as 24 diaries from January 2020 to February 2022.

    Baroness Hallett has legal authority to compel the release of evidence, but the cabinet has resisted handing over the material, arguing that much of it is “clearly irrelevant.”

    Her intervention came when Mr. Johnson's allies accused Downing Street of a “witch hunt” after public officials reported him to the police on new allegations of breaking the rules.

    Allies of the ex-premier have warned Rishi Sunak that he faces the prospect of three damaging by-elections if it appears that the government initiated the transfer of the case for “political purposes”.

    The Telegraph published a story in March. The Lockdown Files that uncovered the mystery of over 100,000 WhatsApp exchanges involving Matt Hancock.

    Lockdown Files

    At the time, those close to the former health secretary criticized the leak on the grounds that the Covid investigation was the proper place to examine all the evidence.

    A spokesperson for him said: "Matt made all his notes and materials available for investigation without any corrections for relevance.”

    In an eight-page ruling, Lady Hallett dismissed the Cabinet case and gave him until 4:00 pm Tuesday to submit reports or face the prospect of legal action.

    The government misunderstood the breadth of the investigation" and the requested material had "potential relevance" to "lines of inquiry", she said.

    “For contextual reasons, it may be necessary for me to understand other (seemingly unrelated) political issues that were preoccupied at the time,” she ruled.

    Baroness Hallett has the legal authority to enforce disclosure of evidence. Photo: Getty

    She revealed that the cabinet had initially let through messages from Mr Johnson about complying with Covid rules during the pickets killed Sarah Everard.

    The investigation also seeks unredacted WhatsApp messages sent and received by Henry Cook, who at the time was Johnson's senior adviser.

    His request extends to access to all WhatsApp conversations that took place between the couple and Rishi Sunak, then chancellor, during the pandemic.

    Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health, who was Johnson's chief of staff at the time, and Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, also list 40 recipients.

    The investigation wants to see communications between the former prime minister and his chief scientific advisers , including Professors Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.

    The messages are 'informal and conversational'

    Cabinet lawyers argue the WhatsApp transmission would be a 'serious invasion of privacy' given their 'informal and conversational nature'.

    p>

    Baroness Hallett warned ministers that failure to disclose information is a “criminal offense” punishable by 1,000 fines or 51 weeks in prison.

    Downing Street insisted that the government was acting “in accordance with the law” and providing “everything necessary materials”. to the investigation, hearings on which will begin next month.

    "Our position is that the investigation does not have the right to force the government to disclose material that is clearly irrelevant, given the precedent that this would have a potential adverse effect on future policymaking.” This was announced by a spokesman for Mr. Sunak.

    “Of course, we continued to fulfill requests in accordance with this principle so that he can carry out his vital work.” demand, according to The Times.

    The Cabinet provided more than 55,000 documents for the investigation, as well as 24 personal testimonies and eight corporate statements.

    How Covid investigation costs have increased

    Mr Johnson fired his government-appointed lawyers on Wednesday after it emerged he had been reported to police over new allegations that he had violated Covid rules.

    Officers handed over evidence that he gave them, including his diaries from the time, which allegedly showed that he hosted family and friends at Checkers.

    Allies of the former prime minister said he had lost confidence in his legal team and was now assembling a new one that would also be funded by the taxpayer.

    Thames Valley Police confirmed they had “received a report of potential irregularities” at the mercy house and favors.< /p>

    The Met also released a statement saying it was considering a further breach of the rules that occurred at Downing Street.

    The former prime minister's office said that assumptions that he violated the ban rules are “completely wrong” and he was not contacted before the appeal was made.

    They suggested the move was a “politically motivated stand-up” to prolong the Privileges Committee's investigation into whether Johnson misled Parliament over “Partygate”.

    >Witch Hunt Warnings

    Source from the tory said it was a “witch hunt against the right” that also included Suella Braverman, the home secretary, and Dominic Raab, the former deputy prime minister.

    “If management doesn't take action to stop this and show support for Boris, Suella and Raab, action will be taken against management,” a source told The Telegraph.

    Mr Johnson's allies came to his defense. Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North, said civil servants who “can't stand Brexit” were behind the attacks.

    Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, warned that the former prime minister ” is still in the line of fire” “of various forces throughout the country.”

    One of the allies suggested that Nadine Dorries, Nigel Adams and Alok Sharma, who are expected to be on Mr Johnson's final honorary list, could step down as MPs early.

    This would result in three by-elections, which will create a serious political headache for Mr. Sunak. Mr Adams dismissed any suggestion that he was preparing to resign.

    Downing Street insisted that there was no political rigging and that “Ministers played no role in deciding whether whether to give information to the police.”< /p>

    Alex Chok, Minister of Justice, defended the civil servants who had passed information to the police, saying they were right to believe it was in violation of the rules.< /p>

    "If they were sitting on it, then people would criticize them for it – if they passed it, others would criticize,” he said.

    The Cabinet of Ministers said that civil service rules oblige officials to pass on documents.

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