Penny Mordaunt: My phone no longer contains Boris Johnson’s messages.

MP tells Covid inquiry that the prime minister’s chief of staff ignored multiple attempts to discuss the matter, as stated by Penny Mordaunt. Mordaunt revealed in her statement that a series of WhatsApp messages between her and Boris Johnson mysteriously disappeared from her phone. She also mentioned that Cabinet Office officials informed her that examining her phone would cost around £40,000 to determine what had occurred. Johnson himself claimed that approximately 5,000 WhatsApp messages from his old phone during the crucial period from January to June 2020 couldn’t be retrieved, possibly due to a factory reset. Mordaunt discovered the missing messages when she checked her correspondence with Johnson following media coverage about the government’s handling of care homes during the pandemic. She persistently attempted to arrange a meeting with Johnson’s chief of staff but received no response. Mordaunt offered to have her phone forensically examined, but the Cabinet Office stated that she would be charged for this service. In January 2023, Mordaunt received a letter from the National Cyber Security Centre confirming that no official advice had been given to the prime minister to delete his messages. Mordaunt concluded her statement by expressing her willingness to have her phone examined by the inquiry if it would be helpful.

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