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The Cabinet Office has today launched a leak inquiry into the text messages sent between Boris Johnson and businessman James Dyson over ventilators and tax support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision comes 24 hours after the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said there would not be an investigation into how Johnson’s private text messages ended up in the public domain.
Former Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith said there needs to be an urgent review of the Prime Minister’s security around his communications in an interview with PoliticsHome yesterday.
The Cabinet Office probe will specifically look at the Dyson texts and not into another leak of a text message sent from Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to Boris Johnson’s mobile over the decision of the Premier League to stop a £300m takeover of Newcastle United last year.
The PM’s official spokesman said that on the Dyson leak the “position has changed from yesterday,” when he said there would not be an inquiry.
He said the previous position: “Was correct at the time yesterday, but as usual we keep these things under review. And we’ve now decided to undertake this internal inquiry. “
Asked why there had been a change of heart within government, he said: “I think as you would expect, we continue to look at this, and the position we decided today is that we want to make sure that we have this internal inquiry and the Cabinet Office will be getting that underway.”
It is understood that neither the National Security Adviser, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, nor the police are involved.
The decision to investigate one leak relating to text messages but not another may raise questions among those who have asked for a more thorough review into the security surrounding the prime minister’s phone.
The Daily Mail reported how bin Salman had warned Johnson in a text on June 27 2020 that relations between the two countries would be damaged unless the £300 million Newcastle buyout got the go ahead.
The newspaper reported that his message to Mr Johnson read: “We expect the English Premier League to reconsider and correct its wrong conclusion.”
Senior government aide Lord Eddie Lister, was instructed to investigate the matter, however the buyout process came to nothing last July when the Premier League failed to approve the Saudi business consortium as the club’s new owners.
Asked why the inquiry would not look into the leak of messages between Johnson the Saudi Crown Prince, the PM’s spokesperson replied: ‘I’m not going to get into the different situations. I think what I’m saying is that we are looking into this specific issue. And we’re confident that’s the right approach.”