Boris Johnson during a Covid-19 press conference.
The whereabouts of a tranche of Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages from the start of the Covid-19 outbreak remain a mystery on the eve of the former prime minister appearing before the public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.
A problem with Johnson’s old phone has meant it has been a struggle to access a crucial group chat that spans the early days of the crisis.
The issue has been blighted by a “well-publicised security breach” – specifically the Popbitch website revealing that his number had been publicly available online for 15 years – and the suggestion Johnson forgot the passcode to the device.
Ahead of Johnson being quizzed for two days by lawyers at the inquiry, The Times reported that the ex-prime minister has told the probe that technical experts have not been able to retrieve WhatsApp messages from February to June 2020.
A Johnson spokesperson is reported as saying: “Boris Johnson has fully cooperated with the inquiry’s disclosure process and has submitted hundreds of pages of material
“He has not deleted any messages.
“The Times report refers to a technical issue in recovery of material that is for the technical team to address.”
Johnson is expected to admit during the hearing that his government made mistakes in its response to the virus, but will argue that its decisions ultimately saved lives.