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Government must release Johnson’s Corona chats

The British government must pass on the ex-prime minister’s personal data in order to process the corona pandemic – which Johnson himself supports. Observers suspect a move against incumbent Sunak.

The High Court in London has ordered the British government to hand over unredacted chat messages as well as notebooks and diaries of then Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the Corona Inquiry Commission. The court dismissed a similar claim by the central government agency Cabinet Office against the order of commission chief Heather Hallett.

Johnson had sided with Hallett in the argument. Commentators see this as an attempt to harm his internal party adversary and incumbent Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Sunak was Treasury Secretary under Johnson during the pandemic. It is believed that he is mentioned in the documents.

Documents submitted to Commission in May

The former prime minister left his documents to the Cabinet Office in May. However, the authority refused to pass it on. She argued the commission did not have the power to compel the release of documents and messages the content of which had no connection to the government’s handling of Covid. The “Covid-19 Inquiry” Commission, on the other hand, claimed that “this and future investigations” would be invalidated if the government itself decided which content was relevant.

The judges ruling on the Cabinet Office case said Johnson’s diaries and notebooks “very likely contained information about decision-making” related to the pandemic, according to a report by the AP news agency. A spokesman said the government will fully comply with the ruling and will work on the investigation to ensure the privacy of those involved is protected.

How was Britain prepared for the corona pandemic?

The investigation is currently investigating whether Great Britain was sufficiently prepared for the corona pandemic. About 227,000 people died from Covid-19 in the UK, according to death certificates. Despite the smaller population, that is significantly more than in Germany.

The commission, headed by former Judge Hallett, can examine witnesses under oath and request documents, but cannot pass judgment. Johnson agreed in late 2021 to an inquiry into how the government has dealt with the spread of the virus.

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