Question Time audience member roasts ‘shameful’ government for protecting Covid WhatsApps

The audience member slammed the government for wasting taxpayers’ money and time.

Question time

A BBC Question Time audience member roasted the government yesterday for launching a judicial review in a bid to prevent the Whatapp messages of Boris Johnson and other ministers from being handed over to the Covid inquiry.

The inquiry, which is being led by Baroness Heather Hallett, is looking into the UK’s preparedness for and response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Government decisions, political reputations and use of public funds will be “under the microscope”.

In May, Baroness Hallett issued a legal notice requesting Mr Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages, his official diaries from between January 2020 and February 2022, together with 24 notebooks.

Johnson says he has no problem with his unredacted messages being handed over while sources close to him say that the government is refusing to do so in a bid to protect Sunak’s messages so that they can protect his reputation.

The Cabinet Office has denied that claim and says that correspondence covering more than two years during the pandemic should not be released as much of its contents are “irrelevant” to the inquiry.

Just hours after the Cabinet Office announced it was launching a judicial review to prevent the release of Boris Johnson’s messages, science minister George Freeman told BBC Question Time that it would probably fail.

The audience member slammed the government for wasting taxpayers’ money and time.

She said: “George has said that he would be surprised whether that decision’s going to be overturned in a judicial review so does it not yet again reflect a lack of integrity on behalf of the government to waste money by taking this to a judicial review, when they know, the advice they’ve been given, the outcome is predictable?”

“It’s shameful,” she concluded.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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