No phone messages sent by the prime minister before April 2021 are available for scrutiny because of a previous security breach, the government has admitted, raising serious questions about how the public can hold them to account.
Boris Johnson has reportedly been dealing with his red box work in “short updates” via WhatsApp every day since November 2020 – including for five months from November 2020 to March 2021 to a personal device not issued by Downing Street”
It has led All the Citizens and the Good Law Project to allege that ministers are breaching the law by failing to follow policies by deleting messages and using private accounts for government business.
They are bringing a legal challenge to Ministers’ persistent use of private communication channels for Government business which has reached the High Court.
Sarah Harrison, Chief Operating Officer for the Cabinet Office, confirmed that:
“In April 2021, in light of a well-publicised security breach, the Prime Minister implemented security advice relating to a mobile device. The effect was that historic messages were no longer available to search and the phone is not active.”
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