New Insights from WhatsApp Messages in Covid Inquiry

WhatsApp messages obtained during the ongoing Covid inquiry have shed light on the inner workings of the UK government during the pandemic. These messages, shared between senior civil servant Simon Case and Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings, reveal frustrations and tensions within the government, particularly regarding the influence of Carrie, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In one text exchange, Mr. Case jokes that Mrs. Johnson was “the real person in charge,” highlighting the apparent influence she had on government decision-making. Mr. Case also expresses his exasperation with the government, describing it as a “tragic joke.” These messages were shared as evidence of “dysfunctionality” within the government during a session of the inquiry.

The messages further reveal discussions about policy decisions, including the introduction of regional circuit breakers. Mr. Case expresses his uncertainty and suggests leaving early, stating, “Am not sure I can cope with today. Might just go home.” When asked what they are discussing, Mr. Case responds, “Whatever Carrie cares about, I guess,” implying her significant influence.

While these messages provide insight into the dynamics within the government at the time, it is essential to approach them with caution. The senior lawyer for the inquiry, Hugo Keith KC, warned that WhatsApp messages lack nuance and can be intemperate. He also emphasized the potential discrepancy between diary entries and the reality of day-to-day events.

The Covid inquiry aims to examine political decision-making during the pandemic, including the timing and effectiveness of lockdowns and social-distancing measures. It will take witness evidence from various individuals, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ministers, advisers, civil servants, and health officials.

As the inquiry progresses, these WhatsApp messages serve as valuable evidence of the challenges and complexities faced by the UK government during the pandemic. Their release provides the public with a fresh perspective on the decision-making processes at the heart of the crisis.

FAQs

1. What do the WhatsApp messages reveal?

The WhatsApp messages obtained during the Covid inquiry reveal frustrations and tensions within the UK government, particularly regarding the influence of Carrie, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They highlight discussions about policy decisions and the significant role Mrs. Johnson played in these discussions.

2. Should we consider the WhatsApp messages as definitive evidence?

While the WhatsApp messages provide valuable insights, it is crucial to approach them with caution. The senior lawyer for the inquiry has warned that these messages lack nuance and can be intemperate. They may not accurately reflect the reality of day-to-day events.

3. What is the purpose of the Covid inquiry?

The Covid inquiry aims to examine political decision-making during the pandemic, including the timing and effectiveness of lockdowns and social-distancing measures. It will gather evidence from various individuals, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ministers, advisers, civil servants, and health officials.

4. How long will the Covid inquiry last?

The Covid inquiry is expected to continue until February 2022. It will take witness evidence in London until Christmas and later move to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to examine the decisions made by administrations in those regions of the United Kingdom.