Boris Johnson said he has sent “all unredacted WhatsApps” directly to the Covid-19 inquiry ahead of a legal clash between the probe and the Cabinet Office over access to the messages.
The former prime minister told the inquiry’s chairwoman Baroness Hallett he would “like to do the same” with messages that are on an old mobile phone he stopped using due to security concerns.
The messages on the locked device refer to discussions from before May 2021 and are likely to relate to conversations about the three coronavirus lockdowns ordered in 2020.
It comes as ministers prepare for a high-profile legal battle with inquiry as the Government seeks to challenge the request for Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages and notebooks to be submitted.
Johnson told Baroness Hallett in a letter sent on Friday: “I am sending your inquiry all unredacted WhatsApps I provided to the Cabinet Office.
“I would like to do the same with any material that may be on an old phone which I have previously been told I can no longer access safely.
“In view of the urgency of your request I believe we need to test this advice, which came from the security services.
“I have asked the Cabinet Office for assistance in turning it on securely so that I can search it for all relevant material.
“I propose to pass all such material directly to you.”