The reason Boris Johnson has been unable to hand over his WhatsApp messages from his old mobile phone to the Covid inquiry is because he cannot remember the passcode, according to reports in The Times.
It was revealed today that the former prime minister has still not passed on messages stored on his old mobile phone to the inquiry, provoking suspicion that the texts could contain “appallingly insensitive” material.
Downing Street on Monday said “all requisite material” had been given to the inquiry after the Government lost its bid to prevent their release.
The Cabinet Office had until 4pm on Monday to comply with a High Court ruling to hand over Johnson’s unredacted notebooks, WhatsApp messages and diaries from his time in Downing Street.
But the former prime minister’s old phone, which contains correspondence from pre-May 2021, is still in his possession.
Reporting in The Times, Steven Swinford said the reason he hasn’t handed the device over is because he’s forgotten the passcode to get in.
There are concerns that the device, an Apple iPhone, will automatically disable and that the contents could be erased if the wrong code is entered.
Johnson is unable to recall the passcode with “100 per cent confidence”, which has stalled the process.
A mobile security expert has cast doubt on the claims.
Andrew Whaley, senior technical director at Norwegian cybersecurity company Promon, said: “This is a pretty lame excuse. Provided Boris’s WhatsApp is backed up, accessing the data would take minutes…
“As this is a diplomatic phone, the security measures may very well be different, but even still, it’s not an impossible task by any means.”