Govt prone to lose legal battle over Johnson’s WhatsApp messages, says minister

A UK minister has expressed doubt over the government’s probabilities of successful its legal case in opposition to the Covid inquiry. The case revolves across the inquiry’s demand for unredacted WhatsApp messages from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and 40 other ministers and officials. Science Minister George Freeman stated on BBC Question Time that he had “very little doubt” a courtroom would rule in favour of handing over the paperwork, but added it was “worth testing” whether or not officials had a proper to privateness.
Components missed a deadline to submit the messages, arguing that a lot of them weren’t related and that handing them over would compromise ministers’ privacy and hinder future decision-making. Baroness Hallett, the retired decide and crossbench peer chairing the inquiry, maintains that it is her decision to discover out what material is relevant.
Freeman suggested that the courts would likely assist Lady Hallett’s view, but additionally emphasized the significance of privateness. He expressed his need for the inquiry to respect the privateness of any non-Covid-related content material. This legal problem marks the primary time a government has taken motion in opposition to its personal public inquiry.
Johnson has said that he has supplied his messages to the Cabinet Office and would be “more than happy” for them to be submitted to the inquiry unredacted. However, no messages from earlier than April 2021 have been handed over as a outcome of a safety breach involving his telephone. Johnson has requested technical support from the Cabinet Office to retrieve the content with out compromising safety.
The authorized dispute happens just weeks earlier than the inquiry’s first public hearings. Lobby Akinnola, from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, expressed frustration and anger on the government’s determination to problem the inquiry, fearing it could render the inquiry “lame.” Elkan Abrahamson, the lawyer representing the group, said the refusal to supply the fabric “raises questions concerning the integrity of the inquiry.”

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