The Covid Inquiry continues to reveal more shocking material from those who were running the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here are some of the most astounding WhatsApp conversations between top government aides during the height of the virus...
1) Boris Johnson did not believe that any of his WhatsApp messages would be made public to the Covid Inquiry.
Cabinet secretary Simon Case said “the PM is mad if he doesn’t think his WhatsApps will become public via Covid Inquiry – but he was clearly not in the mood for that discussion”.
Ironically enough, this message was also sent on WhatsApp and made public to the Covid Inquiry...
2) Simon Case slammed Boris Johnson’s inconsistent leadership, saying that the PM changed his mind about big decisions all the time.
“I am at the end of my tether,” says Case in a WhatsApp message.
“He [Boris Johnson] changes strategic direction every day (Monday we were all about fear of the virus returning as per Europe. Today we were in ‘let it rip’ mode because the UK is pathetic needs a cold shower etc.)
“He cannot lead and we cannot support him in leading with this approach. The team captain cannot change the call on the big plays every day.”
Both Trump and Bolsonaro were in denial about the existence of Covid, and were steadfast in their beliefs that lockdowns and safety measures were the worst outcome.
Voicing concern that the former prime minister was eager to “move-on” from Covid, Case asks former top advisor Dominic Cummings to “get him back to some sense”.
“He does just want to declare that we are over Covid and that it is going to just all be fine. He says he wants to get everything open in the Autumn Statement and end social distancing.
“This is in danger of becoming Trump/Bolsonaro level mad and dangerous”.
This conversation took place in early July 2020, just four months into the pandemic.
4) A top Boris Johnson aide conveniently turned on the ‘disappearing message’ feature on WhatsApp as rumours of a potential Covid Inquiry emerged.
Martin Reynolds, who gave evidence to the Inquiry, ran Johnson’s private office and played a big role in aiding policy making during the pandemic and was in multiple group chats with some of the biggest players.
The WhatsApp feature allows you to make messages between both the sender and recipient disappear after either 24 hours, seven days or 90 days.
However, it’s worth noting that this feature was not introduced until November 2020, some eight months after the start of the pandemic.
Turning on the feature only impacts messages you send and receive from that moment onwards, so any messages deleted before this point will have been deleted manually.
5) Top government aides responsible for working alongside government were at odds with the cabinet, saying health secretary Matt Hancock “had to go”.
A Whatsapp conversation between Case, Cummings and Lee Cain shows a discussion about the government’s handling of the pandemic in September 2020.
Cain, who at one point simply states “this is embarrassing”, says “Hancock has got to go. Joker“.
And Cummings describes the discussions he has with ministers as “moronic” and accuses the government of going “full trolley mode”.
6) Simon Case said the cabinet needed a reshuffle and a “new approach to how this government works”.
After criticising scientists for being “too slow and too purist”, Case went onto say that we had a “massive trust deficit” with the government at the time.
He slammed Boris Johnson for backing “bullshit ’no surrender” ideas from his cabinet and goes onto add that “we really, really need a reshuffle and a totally new approach to how this government works”.