Matt Hancock Former British Minister of Health 100,000 Your WhatsApp message leaked He explains that the investigation based on screenshots is just beginning. This is how a British civil servant involved in the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak reacted when asked to think about how he would react if all his private correspondence during this period were leaked to the press, he writes. Politico.
However, this is exactly the nightmare scenario that happened to Matt Hancock, health secretary in Boris Johnson’s government at the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Some 100,000 WhatsApp messages sent and received by Matt Hancock in the early days of the crisis have been delivered to Isabelle Oakeshott, a controversial British journalist. The Daily Telegraph– Who was appointed by the minister to help him write his memoirs about his time in office.
The right-wing Telegraph, after secretly analyzing messages for two months, is now pouring serious stories onto its front page every day, many targeting the draconian Covid-era health measures it opposes.
The former minister has already been forced to deny allegations that he ignored key advice on care home investigations. Other posted messages said face masks were made compulsory in schools in England just to avoid a row with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
While Hancock struggles to maintain his reputation, other well-known – and lesser-known – figures in Westminster begin to worry about being drawn into the leaking case.
Already, letters appear that paint Hancock’s old friends and colleagues in a bad light. Former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson sent private letters to Hancock mocking teaching unions that now appeared on the front page of the Telegraph.
And Westminster is bracing for more such embarrassing revelations in the coming days, and no one knows which of Hancock’s contacts will be targeted next.
Several government officials have contacted Politico to say they are concerned the leak could reveal their identities and details of their relationships with Hancock. They also expressed concern that it was not clear within the ministries how the official record applies to WhatsApp.
Poppy group chat
However, beyond the immediate outrage, the cache of messages opens a fascinating window into how those at the top of government made decisions in the grip of a health emergency, revealing how communication via WhatsApp has played a key role in the process.
Two officials who worked with Hancock — a civil servant and a government consultant — who spoke on condition of anonymity, defended using WhatsApp in such a fast-paced environment.
It was 100 percent essential to my job. What people don’t really appreciate now is that it was quite a challenge trying to figure out what was authentic and making a decision quickly
– said someone.
They explained that the ease with which WhatsApp allows instant messaging groups to be created made it possible to quickly consult 10-15 people of interest on a particular topic, while supervising the rest of the group.
Both pointed out that WhatsApp is not used in isolation, but rather alongside emails and other conversations, especially in the early morning and late evening when ministers and advisors are not in the building.
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