Rishi Sunak is facing scrutiny at the Covid inquiry amid allegations he did not provide all relevant communications after pranksters claimed to reach an old phone number of his. The Prime Minister is set to address various issues during the inquiry, including the influence of scientific advice and the 'eat out to help out' scheme's role in spreading the virus.
Sunak is also under pressure to explain missing WhatsApp messages during a critical time in the pandemic. He has attributed the loss to changing phones and lack of data backup. This claim faces challenges following reports that pranksters accessed a phone number previously used by him.
The absence of messages from both Sunak and ex-prime minister Boris Johnson
, who could not submit messages from a key pandemic period citing technical issues, raises concerns. Roughly 5,000 messages from Johnson
's phone remain unaccounted for.
The Liberal Democrats have contacted the Attorney General for clarifications about the accessibility of Sunak's messages and compliance with the Inquiries Act 2005. The party emphasized the gravity of withholding information from the inquiry, highlighting the distress of bereaved families.
The government responded without commenting on security details but stated that the inquiry has received full cooperation and over 55,000 documents. Sunak has claimed in his statement that he expected officials to preserve important messages and cannot provide messages from the specified timeline due to phone changes and unbacked data.