Cabinet Secretary Simon Case said he believed Carrie Johnson was the real Prime Minister during lockdown, text messages shown at the Covid Inquiry reveal. The Telegraph has the story.
A series of WhatsApps between some of Boris Johnson’s top aides suggest the then Prime Minister was making decisions on Covid restrictions based solely on the wishes of his wife.
In one heated message, Mr. Case, who was appointed Cabinet Secretary in September 2020, wrote that Mrs Johnson was “the real person in charge” at No. 10.
The messages, which were handed to the inquiry by Dominic Cummings as part of his written evidence, are undated, but are believed to have been sent some time in autumn 2020, before the Government introduced a ‘tier’ system of regional restrictions.
The exchange begins when Mr. Case tells Mr. Cummings and Lee Cain, then No. 10’s Director of Communications, about a conversation he has had with the then Health Secretary Matt Hancock:
The new three-tier system took effect on October 14th 2020, but it did not prove effective and a second national lockdown had to be [sic] called, taking effect on November 5th.
News that another lockdown had been agreed was leaked to the Mail, the Times and the Sun on the evening of Friday October 30th – forcing Mr. Johnson to make the announcement earlier than anticipated on the Saturday.
Fingers were pointed at Mr. Hancock, who denied the charge. Figures in No. 10 blamed Mr. Cummings, while he pinned the blame on Henry Newman, a former adviser to Michael Gove who by then was working in Downing Street.
A Whitehall inquiry was launched into the leak, but the culprit was never identified.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Sir Patrick Vallance said SAGE scientists had “too much enthusiasm for the camera” during the pandemic, according to further messages presented to the Covid Inquiry. Boris Johnson wrote on WhatsApp: “These SAGE geezers now saying we should have gone into lockdown earlier… can we gently ask them why they did not make their anxieties public at the time?” The Chief Scientific Adviser responded: “I think there is too much enthusiasm for the camera at the moment and will speak to them again.”