Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”We will ensure that judicial review…is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays”

The Conservative Party manifesto 2019

Facts

The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto pledged that judicial review would not be “abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays”

On 28 April 2023, Baroness Hallett – who led the Covid-19 inquiry into the government’s decision-making process – requested Boris Johnson and Johnson aide Henry Cook’s unredacted WhatsApp communications, as well as Johnson’s unredacted diary entries and notebooks, dated between 1 January 2020 and 24 February 2022. 

The original deadline for the WhatsApp messages and Diaries was set for 12 May 2023. And for the notebooks, 28 April 2023.  

The Cabinet Office refused to comply with Hallet’s requests on the grounds that it would be an affront to their privacy and the right to private policy discussion.

In early July 2023, the Cabinet Office sought a judicial review of Baroness Hallett’s request for the full disclosure of Boris Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages, notebooks and diaries to the Covid Inquiry. Their legal challenge was defeated. 

The deadline was delayed to 10 July due to the Cabinet Office’s legal challenge.

Verdict

The Cabinet Office’s use of judicial review – a tool intended to be used in order to hold the government to account – led to delay in the official inquiry, making a mockery of the Conservative manifesto commitment. 

We emailed the Conservative Party offering it the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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