Sunak is being questioned again at the Covid inquiry due to pranksters claiming they were able to contact his previous phone number.
New concerns are emerging about whether Rishi Sunak has provided all pertinent information to the Covid inquiry following reports that individuals have been able to obtain an old phone number he utilized while serving as chancellor.
The inquiry on Monday will involve the prime minister being questioned about his statements regarding the excessive authority of scientists. He will also be probed about the specifics of the “eat out to help out” program, which some specialists believe contributed to the spread of the virus.
He will also have to face questions about his statement that he was unable to send WhatsApp messages during an important time due to changing phones multiple times and not backing up the messages.
There are now reports that individuals playing pranks were able to obtain a long-standing phone number for Sunak. When called, the number played a recorded voicemail. This has raised concerns about whether Sunak provided the inquiry with access to any information related to that phone number.
The inquiry has already investigated the issue of missing messages, which were brought to light by a large collection that former prime minister Boris Johnson was unable to provide. During a critical time in the pandemic, between January 31 and June 7, 2020, Johnson claimed he was unable to access these messages.
During the inquiry, it was revealed that approximately 5,000 WhatsApp messages from Johnson’s phone during a specific period could not be found. When questioned about the missing messages, Johnson stated that he was not sure of the exact cause, but it appeared that the app may have experienced a technical issue that resulted in all data between the time it went down and the last backup being automatically erased.
The Liberal Democrats have sent a letter to Victoria Prentis, the attorney general, requesting clarification on the state of Sunak’s phones and messages. They have inquired about the accessibility of the messages, cautioning that withholding them would be considered a criminal offense under the Inquiries Act of 2005.
The inquiry requested information on the legal guidance given to Sunak regarding the Inquiries Act and if the government was contacted by the police regarding possible violations.
Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, expressed disappointment that Rishi Sunak’s WhatsApp messages have not been made available to the Covid-19 inquiry. The possibility that Sunak’s supposedly “broken phone” may actually contain recoverable information is alarming for the many families who have suffered the loss of loved ones during the pandemic.
Sunak should not avoid being examined and held responsible for his choices made during the pandemic. Engaging in such behavior would be unethical and potentially against the law. The prime minister should be honest and transparent. If he has nothing to conceal, he should not be afraid.
According to a representative from the government, it has been a longstanding practice to refrain from discussing security issues. Both the prime minister and government are actively assisting with the investigation. Over 55,000 documents have been provided to support their efforts. It is our belief that in order to maintain the credibility of the inquiry, all evidence should be considered within its proper context and in its entirety.
According to Sunak’s testimony to the investigation, he stated that due to changing his phone multiple times in the past three years, he no longer has access to the WhatsApp messages sent or received during the relevant time. He also clarified that the messages were not backed up.
I would anticipate that if the individuals in those groups recognized the importance of preserving any information shared through WhatsApp messages as part of the official HMT record, they would have made efforts to ensure that it was done.