Tag Archives: inquiry

Will Nicola Sturgeon enjoy renewed popularity over WhatsApp descriptions of Tories?

Take pride in it: is Nicola Sturgeon brandishing the finger with which she texted the claim that Liz Truss was as “useful as a marzipan dildo” on WhatsApp? Sadly not.

This Writer never had much time for Nicola Sturgeon – until now. What a shame she’s being praised for something that isn’t true but is from a parody account.

The SNP politician was ordered to disclose the contents of WhatsApp messages she sent during the Covid-19 crisis. What she said about Boris Johnson was bad enough – but a parody ‘X’ account took the story, ran with it, and brought joy to the nation:

Why would anybody want her to apologise for saying these things? This Writer reckons that if Sturgeon really had said them, she should have had a medal!

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I’m stealing the description of Suella Braverman, by the way. It’s only her first initial and the name of the foreign politician whose politics seem to most closely resemble her own.

Sadly, @PoliticoForYou is a parody account and the story isn’t true – apart from what Sturgeon said about Boris Johnson.

So it’s still bad news for him, after he tried to tell the Covid Inquiry in December that he got on well with Sturgeon and they had a good relationship. This may have been true in their interactions, but clearly her own opinion of him wasn’t as he described.

More details of the real WhatsApp messages are available (in watered-down form) here on the BBC News website.


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Will Teesworks corruption inquiry release its report before the general election?

A report into allegations of corruption in a flagship Conservative government project – the ‘free port’ at Teesside – seems unlikely to report until after the next general election, according to those in the know.

For details of the scandal, please see this Vox Political article. The situation was summed up quite well by Commons’ business and trade committee chairman Liam Byrne, when he asked Tory cabinet minister Michael Gove to explain the current situation:

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People of the UK have responded to the corruption allegations with their now-habitual mixture of rolling-eyed resentment and dark humour – as evidenced by the response below to Good Law Project head Jolyon Maugham’s assertion that the inquiry into the corruption allegations is unlikely to publish its findings until after the general election:

It is true that Mr Bates vs The Post Office, about the Post Office scandal in which hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted for theft because a faulty and insecure computer system wrongly accused them, has jolted the Tory government into action.

Is reminding the public of these scandals during election years now the only way to get a UK government to combat corruption at all?


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Covid inquiry’s first report will be out before the election. Bad news for Sunak?

Eat Out To Help Out: after he served up this little howler – and pushed up Covid-19 infections massively, Rishi Sunak will fear the findings of any report from the inquiry into how the Conservatives handled the pandemic.

This will be a slow burn for the Tories – and because we don’t know when the report will drop, for us as well.

But This Writer recommends getting some popcorn in at regular intervals so you have some when it does.

Here’s what you need to know right now:

An explosive report spelling out how the Conservative government failed to prepare the country for the Covid-19 pandemic as it obsessed about Brexit is to be released before the likely date of the next general election.

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In a move that will cause alarm in Downing Street, Heather Hallett’s independent Covid-19 inquiry will issue a detailed interim report “before the summer” on the first batch of public hearings held last June and July, which revealed a catalogue of errors, including the lack of PPE and failures to act on recommendations of previous pandemic planning exercises.

The first part of the inquiry also showed how pandemic planning fell victim to years of Tory austerity, and how later the Covid-19 threat was downplayed because ministers were preoccupied with trying to avoid the worst effects of a possible no-deal Brexit.

There’s a great argument for the report to be released as soon as possible – because its recommendations may then be put into action to protect us from a future pandemic.

It’s a nice story. Personally, This Writer thinks the chances of that happening are zero – under the Tories or a Starmer-led Labour administration.

But if it gets the report out in time to mess up any Conservative hope of winning a general election, then the public interest will be served.

Of course, the big question is whether anybody will be prosecuted and jailed for their roles in the deaths of many thousands of people who might otherwise be continuing to live useful, productive and happy lives today.

Source: Key Covid inquiry report creates election date headache for Sunak | Covid inquiry | The Guardian


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Israel killed its own civilians on October 7 ‘in immense and complex quantity’

Yasmin Porat: when this former Hamas hostage was interviewed, she said Israeli troops fired on their own citizens.

What did we all say?

Those of us who had the slightest bit of sense made it clear that Israeli military forces had killed their own countrymen and women on October 7; now that country’s government has admitted it:

Israel’s army on Tuesday admitted that an “immense and complex quantity” of what it calls “friendly fire” incidents took place on 7 October.

It is the first known official army admission that a significant number of the hundreds of Israelis who died on 7 October were killed by Israel itself, and not by Hamas or other Palestinian resistance factions.

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Citing new data released by the Israeli military, [Yoav Zitun, the military correspondent of Israeli outlet Ynet] wrote that: “Casualties fell as a result of friendly fire on October 7, but the IDF [Israeli military] believes that … it would not be morally sound to investigate” them.

He reported that this was “due to the immense and complex quantity of them that took place in the kibbutzim and southern Israeli communities.”

The Ynet article also reported that “at least” one fifth of the Israeli army deaths in Gaza since the ground invasion began were also due to “friendly fire” incidents.

To This Writer, the admission adds fuel to the claim of the ‘Party Flowers’ group, relatives of people who died at the Nova music festival, that an official inquiry is vital.

As the article quoted above states,

Israel does indeed appear to be covering up a lot of the evidence.

There has been a steadily growing mountain of evidence that many – if not most – Israelis killed that day were killed by Israel itself.

And there’s been an admission that the so-called ‘Hannibal Directive’ was followed by the IDF on October 7:

An Israeli air force colonel admitted to a Hebrew podcast that they blew up Israeli homes in the settlements but insisted they never did so “without permission.”

Colonel Nof Erez also said that 7 October was a “mass Hannibal” event – a reference to a controversial Israeli military doctrine.

Named after an ancient Carthaginian general who poisoned himself rather than be captured alive, the Hannibal Directive allows Israeli forces to take any means necessary to stop Israelis being captured alive – even at the cost of killing the captives.

Source: Israel admits to “immense” amount of “friendly fire” on 7 October | The Electronic Intifada


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Israel/Gaza: Forgotten festival families organise to demand investigation into deaths

Families of the Israelis who died at the Nova Music Festival on October 7 have formed an organisation to demand an official state ‘Commission of Inquiry’ into what happened.

This Writer’s big question is: why has this hardly been reported?

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Here’s a post on ‘X’ that I happened to find by luck:

And here‘s a partial translation of an article on Israeli media:

The families of those killed in the “Nova” and “Psydak” nature parties gathered yesterday (Monday) for the first time to establish a headquarters that will be called “The Flowers of the Parties”.

The families explained that the background for establishing the headquarters is the state’s ignoring them and seeing them as “transparent”.

Erez Sarfati, the father of the late Ron Sarfati, who was murdered at the Nova party, told the participants: “On the seventh of October, over 350 party goers who went to celebrate life were murdered, since then no official has contacted us.

“It is clear to us that the country is in an ongoing war, we are clear that the abductees need to be taken care of and everyone returned now, but we are not ready to be transparent in the eyes of the state’s captains.

“We all watch every night and are shocked by the headlines of the leaders, what kind of victory is this? We all lost and no one looks us in the eye and apologizes for this abominable failure.

“We will not allow the continuation of the cover-up of what happened to our dear ones.”

The implication is that Israeli military personnel did indeed fire at festival attendees, and did indeed kill some of them – a claim that has been hotly contested by the Israeli government and its military ever since.

I wonder whether the international media are ignoring this story in the hope that it will go away.

Then they’ll be able to carry on spouting the official line from liars like Eylon Levy.


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Bad days for Boris Johnson: his Covid inquiry evidence is shredded

Boris Johnson: after his evidence to the Covid-19 inquiry, does he belong behind bars?

If you were to watch the TV news, you might think Boris Johnson was making a good fist of it.

The BBC’s report, below, turns out to have been … charitable, at worst – although there is an appendix providing views of his critics:

But it seems quite a lot of information was missed out. That’s hardly surprising when he was in the chair for six hours during the first day, but perhaps it would have been better to use the limited broadcast time to cover the facts, rather than show clips of him waffling.

Today, Yr Obdt Srvt (that’s me) went to the social media. Here’s some of what I found:

So he read hardly any of the scientific information and advice on offer to him.

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Then there’s this:

Why wasn’t that broadcast at the top of the news on December 6, 2023? It tells us everything we needed to know about Johnson’s leadership and attitude to people who were likely to become ill with Covid-19: let them die.

And how about this?

So, with Covid-19 cases rising, Johnson – and Rishi Sunak, the current prime minister, remember – decided to launch a scheme that was guaranteed to increase them still more. I believe research suggests a rise of up to 17 per cent was triggered this way.

And, despite protestations that they knew nothing about the scheme, Johnson insisted that his chief scientific and medical advisers were aware of it, and then said he thought in September 2020 that it was odd they hadn’t. Hugo Keith put him straight – at length:

That was all yesterday – and could have been highlighted in TV news reports. Why wasn’t it?

Moving on to today…

If anyone can make that make sense – in any way other than that Johnson was trying to cover his then-prime ministerial derriere against disasters – they are better than This Writer.

First he said one thing, then another, then he tried to blur the positions… This was not the behaviour of a man with a clear position and nothing to hide.

And now, some comedy. It’s kind of “gallows humour”, but in hard times you have to take what you can get, and Boris Johnson having a mental collapse trying to dissociate himself from using the phrase “let the virus rip”, seems likely to be the best for which we can hope:

The implication by Mr Keith – that Johnson’s belief that the people most likely to die were at the end of their lives anyway coloured his decisions on how to combat Covid-19 – seems fair. And nothing that Johnson said is remotely persuasive of the opposite.

In an attempt to regain some credibility, Johnson talked about his time in hospital, after contracting the virus, to show that he did care about what happened to those who caught it:

Are you persuaded?

From there, the inquiry turned to the extra-curricular activities enjoyed by Johnson’s advisers and staff while the rest of us were being kept in our homes.

Here’s his evidence on Dominic Cummings’s visit to Barnard Castle, over which he supported Cummings at the time:

And now let’s hear what he had to say about Partygate – the parties that took place in Downing Street on his watch:

His reference to civil servants “who thought they were following the rules” just makes it seem they must have been extremely dim-witted. The citizens of the UK expect a higher standard of intelligence from their public servants, alongside a higher standard of behaviour.

Now watch him get cornered with a question on whether he could have done more to stop the parties:

Johnson said in his evidence that “the public has the wrong impression of Partygate” – but it seems clear that much of the public has the right impression of what he has been saying over the last two days. Let’s have a smattering:

Here’s an opinion piece from The Guardian:

In it, Martin Kettle states:

Johnson suffers from a fatal combination of qualities in any leader. He combines indifference to principles and disregard for others with disorganisation of mind and behaviour, and indecisiveness and laziness in action.

It is the reckless incompetence and manifest unsuitability that stand out most.

But this is perhaps the most common question remaining in the public mind after the last two days:

Is there an avenue by which Johnson may be charged with criminal wrongdoing over the way he handled Covid-19?

If so, then yes – he should be prosecuted. Although I would leave it to the experts to determine the actual charge.


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Book a vacation and buy your popcorn: Boris Johnson faces the Covid inquiry next week

Boris Johnson: and the welcome return of the image that revealed what was going on throughout the Covid crisis. Or did it?

It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for!

Boris Johnson will go before the Covid-19 inquiry next week. What will he be asked?

And how will he respond?

Mr Johnson will face difficult questions, including over claims he said he would rather “let the bodies pile high” than impose another lockdown.

The former PM will also be questioned about bombshell diary entries written by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who said he was “obsessed with older people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life and the economy going”.

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Rishi Sunak – Johnson’s Chancellor – will face his own set of questions the following week.

He will face his own tricky questions, including over evidence heard by the Inquiry that suggested he believed ministers should “just let people die and that’s okay” during the pandemic.

We all lived through the monstrous mass death over which Johnson and Sunak presided.

We should all have a chance to see how they defend themselves.

Source: Date set for Boris Johnson’s Covid Inquiry reckoning as he faces grilling under oath – Mirror Online


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Covid inquiry: are ex-officials using evidence to score points against former bosses?

Misogyny claim: Helen MacNamara.

The Covid-19 Inquiry seems to have degenerated into a slanging match between Tory ministers, together with their cronies, and civil servants – which is not to say that any of the information is untrue.

Latest to enter the fray was Helen MacNamara, former Deputy Cabinet Secretary – and therefore the UK’s second most senior official at the time of the pandemic – with a flurry of accusations about sexism among Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and their Tory buddies.

It is all-too-believable in a post-Partygate world.

The list of claims assembled in the BBC’s report is lengthy. Let’s have a look:

Helen MacNamara told the Covid inquiry a “toxic” environment affected decision-making during the crisis.

She said that female experts were ignored, and women were “looked over”.

She also accused Boris Johnson of failing to tackle “misogynistic language” used by Dominic Cummings.

Ms MacNamara described a “macho, confident” environment within government when Covid struck in early 2020, with an “unbelievably bullish” approach about the UK’s ability to respond.

She expressed concern that the lack of a “female perspective” on the crisis in a number of policy areas.

This included a “lack of thought” about childcare during school closures, the impact of restrictions on victims of domestic violence, and a lack of guidance for pregnant women.

She also wrote that a “disproportionate amount of attention” was given to the impact of lockdown on “male pursuits”, citing football, hunting, shooting and fishing.

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In an email sent to female staffers from April 2020, read out at the inquiry, she described the “egotistical and macho” culture as “demoralising to work in,” noting that women had only spoken for “10-15 minutes” in over five hours of meetings earlier that month.

She told the inquiry she had found the lack of female participation “striking”, with women turning their screens off during Zoom calls or “sitting in the back row” during meetings.

The Royal College of Nursing’s chief nurse, Nicola Ranger, said senior men in government “relied on nursing staff to deliver care to the highest standard, whilst failing to meet basic professional standards themselves”.

“As a 90% female profession, nursing staff will find today’s reminders painful,” Ms Ranger said. “These cavalier and misogynistic attitudes left nursing staff, especially women, at even greater risk and with deadly consequences.”

In other evidence heard by the inquiry:

  • Ms MacNamara said she would struggle to “pick one day” when Covid regulations were followed properly inside Downing Street
  • She also accused Downing Street of “lying” about parties, in its initial response to the Partygate scandal
  • She criticised an over-reliance on following advice from scientists, calling it a “cop out” from ministers and unfair on the scientific experts
  • In one email, she said there was a tendency to treat the advice of scientists like “the word of God”
  • She also said former health secretary Matt Hancock displayed “nuclear levels” of overconfidence, but had a habit of making assurances that turned out not to be true
  • She described a “jarring” episode where he imitated a cricket batsman, before saying “they bowl them at me, I knock them away”
  • She also said she had failed to retrieve messages on her work phone after leaving the Civil Service, but the Cabinet Office had deleted them

Elsewhere in her evidence, she described a “lack of care” for government staff, which she added proved “damaging in all sorts of ways”.

She recalled that it was over seven months into the pandemic before a hand sanitizing station was placed near a link bridge between the Cabinet Office and No 10 with a Pin pad regularly used by officials.

She also said she repeatedly requested but failed to receive “psychological support” for civil servants working on on the Covid response, adding “I don’t really understand why we couldn’t do that”.

She told the inquiry the government’s response in a number of areas showed an “absence of humanity,” adding in her testimony that the reaction to the Covid situation in prisons “felt very cold”.

She’s another one who claimed to have had problems with messages on her phone – but at least her excuse was different. She said she had “extraordinary” problems providing evidence to the inquiry because after she left, the Cabinet Office wiped her work phone.

Again (This Site has covered this issue several times now), this seems unlikely if they were WhatsApps because the messages are kept in a “cloud” – separate from individual phones, meaning they should be retrievable.

The report added:

Matt Fowler, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, said the evidence coming from the inquiry was “worse” than feared.

He said the evidence showed “special advisors from privileged backgrounds” were not interested in “how their decisions would impact the disabled, low-income households, at-risk children and others who weren’t like them”.

We are building up a picture of a Westminster government that was using Covid-19 as a means to achieve the aims of its individual members, without the slightest interest in the well-being of the UK as a whole.

This fits with what reporters like This Site were saying at the time, when we were commenting on failures to provide for the most vulnerable in society, coinciding with the provision of huge amounts of money to Conservative friends and donors in Covid-related business contracts that were granted using the illegal “fast-track” process.

Here‘s a prime example: Cummings has claimed that Johnson thought people could kill Covid-19 by using a “special hair dryer” up their nose:

He said Mr Johnson shared the Youtube clip – since deleted – in a WhatsApp group with Sir Chris, England’s chief medical officer (CMO), and Sir Patrick, then the government’s chief scientific adviser (CSA).

He then “asked the CSA and CMO what they thought”, he added. The statement does not detail what response – if any – was given by the advisers.

Cummings also said Johnson asked him to find a “dead cat” (a story that would distract the news media) to draw attention away from Covid-19 in late 2020:

In the summer of that year, he wrote, Mr Johnson “wanted to declare Covid ‘over’ even though this would obviously backfire”.

“At one point in autumn he told me to ‘put your campaign head back on and figure out how we dead-cat Covid, I’m sick of Covid, I want it off the front pages,'” Mr Cummings added.

“I said that no campaign could ‘dead-cat Covid’ and I would not spend my time on such a project,” he added.

Others, like the devolved government in Wales, were doing the right thing but were attacked for it by the Westminster elite, the inquiry heard.

Lee Cain, Boris Johnson’s former head of communications, praised Mark Drakeford’s Labour-run Welsh government for correctly imposing a three-week “firebreak” lockdown in October 2020:

During it people were told to stay at home and pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops had to shut.

Gatherings, indoors and out, with those not in your household were also banned.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford called it a “short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time”.

The Welsh lockdown, which would eventually be mirrored in England two weeks later, led to a clash with the UK Treasury.

Make a note of this because it concerns the current prime minister:

It saw then Chancellor Rishi Sunak decline to bring forward the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) to replace the furlough in time to top up Welsh wages, leaving many employees fearing redundancy.

In a letter to Mr Drakeford he rejected implementing JSS – which would have covered 67% of wages – a month sooner because of “limitations in HMRC delivery timescales”.

So Sunak had a tantrum and threw his toys out of his pram – and Welsh employees had to suffer for it.

In his witness statement to the inquiry, Mr Cain said a meeting in the Cabinet room in Westminster on 21 September 2020 heard “overwhelming expert opinion that if the (UK) government did not take action in the form of a circuit breaker, Covid would once again spread rampantly across the UK”.

“That would leave no other option than a longer more restrictive lockdown in the months ahead,” he said.

The statement then went on to say that “by late October Covid rates had continued to rise and were at risk of getting out of control.”

Eventually then Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown for England, which began on November 5, 2020 and lasted for a month.

It was chaos, wasn’t it?

With these idiots in charge, it’s a wonder we weren’t all dead by November 5, 2020.

Martin Kettle in The Guardian reckons the problem lay with the whole UK system of government, saying it needs to change.

But there’s a big problem.

The lunatics are still in charge, and are only likely to be replaced by another gang of lunatics at the next general election. How are we going to achieve change when our only electoral options are people who won’t implement it?


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Pensioners take note: evidence shows Boris Johnson wanted Covid-19 to get rid of you

Get the message? You never saw Boris Johnson actually sitting over a dying pensioner making rude gestures at them (and the rest of us), but he might as well have done it. At the time, This Site wrote: “Until pensioners realise that his policies on Covid-19 add up to the same, he’ll carry on – aided by the papers and TV channels that keep the over-60s tranquillised – easy prey for the cull.” How true that was.

Those pensioners who have supported the Conservatives with their votes may be forced to think again after the Covid-19 inquiry heard that former Tory prime minister Boris Johnson not only thought the disease was “nature’s way of dealing with old people” – but was agreeing with other Tory MPs in doing so.

It’s a staggering act of contempt for a sector of society that has propped up one Conservative government after another – and that comprises the vast majority of the Tory Party’s membership.

The BBC tells us:

The allegation comes from diary entries from former chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

In August 2020, Sir Patrick wrote that Mr Johnson was “obsessed with older people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life and the economy going”.

“Quite bonkers set of exchanges,” he said, referring to messages exchanged between Mr Johnson and others in a WhatsApp group.

In later notes from December 2020, Sir Patrick wrote that Mr Johnson said his party “thinks the whole thing is pathetic and Covid is just nature’s way of dealing with old people – and I am not entirely sure I disagree with them”.

Another note from December says Mr Johnson agreed with the Conservative Party’s chief whip when he said “we should let the old people get it and protect others”.

This message – that the government should leave senior citizens to die rather than try to protect the population as a whole – will come particularly hard to the families of the 30,000 people who died in care homes for the elderly after then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s “protective ring” around them turned out to be nonexistent.

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The BBC quotes Brenda Doherty, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, who said reading Mr Johnson’s messages felt like being “punched in the stomach”.

“During the first and second waves of the pandemic the UK had one of the highest death tolls per person in the world from Covid-19 and it’s clear just how personally responsible for that he was,” Ms Doherty said.

Also providing testimony was former Prime Ministerial advisor and Barnard Castle visitor Dominic Cummings, who said there was no plan to protect vulnerable people, such as the victims of domestic abuse, in a national lockdown.

“I would say that entire question was appallingly neglected,” Mr Cummings said.

Boris Johnson – and more importantly, now that he has replaced Johnson as prime minister, Rishi Sunak – will face the inquiry later in the year, which is more than can be said for some of the key figures in the handling of the pandemic.

Cabinet Office Secretary Simon Case decided he was “too poorly” to testify:

And Hancock refused to appear unless he had immunity from the law – implying that his actions during the pandemic may have criminal consequences:

One element that is no surprise is the behaviour of Boris Johnson. Former Downing Street Communications Director Lee Cain, giving his evidence today (October 31, 2023), said

the pandemic was the “wrong crisis” for Mr Johnson and he was a “challenging character to work with” because he kept changing his mind.

This should come as no surprise because we already have plenty of evidence that Johnson was completely incapable of leading during the crisis and needed to be led through every step of the way by aides who feared that he would depart from logic (and indeed sanity) at any moment:

This is a man who was presented to the nation as the best possible choice to lead the UK in the 2019 general election!

I wonder how many people, presented with the evidence to this inquiry, would prefer Jeremy Corbyn in hindsight.

In any case, the Covid Inquiry is heating up – but will any political heads roll as a result of the fatal errors that are being discovered on a daily basis?


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Sunak refuses to hand WhatsApp messages. Covid Inquiry should take them anyway

Smartphone, dull user: Rishi Sunak doesn’t seem to know his WhatsApp messages are stored on a cloud and can be retrieved – if he hasn’t deliberately deleted them.

How ironic: on a day when the Tory government announces a plan to stop school pupils messing around with mobile phones, it turns out that not only a previous prime minister, but also the incumbent, have been using them irresponsibly.

Would it not be more prudent, therefore, to bring in a law demanding that a record is kept of all social media messages sent and received by government ministers, on both public and their own personal devices?

Here’s The Guardian to tell you what a naughty little boy Rishi Sunak has been:

Rishi Sunak has failed to hand over his WhatsApp messages from his time as chancellor to the Covid inquiry despite the high court ruling that ministers should disclose their communications for scrutiny.

In his witness statement to the public inquiry, seen by the Guardian, the prime minister claimed that he did “not have access” to the messages during the period running the Treasury because he had changed his phone several times and failed to back them up.

The inquiry, which begins hearing evidence on Tuesday for its second stage examining the government’s handling of the pandemic, had requested key communications sent during the pandemic, from the end of January 2020 to the end of February 2022.

Sunak became chancellor in February 2020 and his messages could include details of crucial pandemic decisions made by the Treasury including ‘eat out to help out’, bounce-back loans and the furlough scheme.

So his excuse is that he changed phones several times and didn’t back up the messages? No problem.

You see, messages sent using services such as WhatsApp are stored on a cloud server – not the recipient’s device(s) – and may be recovered by the authorities under circumstances including a legal investigation.

So it doesn’t matter how many phones Sunak has been through – his messages will still be intact – unless he has personally deleted them, which would be a prosecutable offence in this instance.

The Guardian piece goes on to remind us that former prime minister Boris Johnson had been in trouble when it was revealed that the mobile phone he used from the start of the pandemic until April 2021 had been declared a security risk.

It says he refused to hand over its messages until it had been checked for safety by government officials – but has now handed over messages from June 2020 to April 2021.

The Guardian understands, however, that Johnson has told the inquiry that he has been unable to access messages between 31 January and 7 June 2020, significant dates in the first wave of the pandemic during which thousands of people died, despite the phone being in action until the following spring.

In the former prime minister’s witness statement, he suggests that other leading players in the government at the time – which could include Sunak, Michael Gove and Matt Hancock – could hand over their phones with WhatsApp or Signal messages on them instead. It is unclear whether Johnson has yet handed over his diaries.

So it seems there are several opportunities to get Sunak’s WhatsApps against his will:

The messages can be retrieved from the cloud, if he hasn’t simply deleted them and lied about doing so.

Or they can be harvested from the WhatsApp accounts of other members of the government of the day.

It will be interesting to see what happens now.

Will he come clean and either hand over the messages or admit deleting them? Or will he force the Covid Inquiry to drag them out of him or others?

And once they have been obtained, what stories will they tell?

Source: Sunak fails to hand WhatsApp messages from time as chancellor to Covid inquiry | Covid inquiry | The Guardian


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