Downing Street employees were advised to “clean” their phones by removing information that could suggest lockdown parties were held at No 10, the UK Independent has been told.
wo sources claim that a senior member of staff told them it would be a “good idea” to remove any messages implying they had participated or even had any such Knew about the thing that “could look like a party”.
Boris Johnson is facing an internal investigation into lockdown-violating parties by senior civil servant Sue Grey, and fury over revelations that 100 Downing Street employees were emailed at a drink event on 20 May 2020. was invited by, when the British people were allowed. Meet only one other person outside.
Deputy Labor leader Angela Renner said it raised “more questions for a prime minister who has no answers.”
Sources allege that the “cleanup” was suggested early last month after the first reports of parties in Downing Street emerged.
One said he was “just told to clean his phone” that he had to hand it over for investigation.
A second said: “I was bowing [during the discussion with a senior colleague] And told to get rid of anything that might look bad.”
Both sources told The Independent that they were under pressure to remove the communication and the images.
Claims that a senior member of staff instructed junior colleagues to remove potential evidence refuted an email, also sent in December, instructing employees not to destroy any material which may prove relevant to an investigation, criminal or otherwise.
This was meant to refer to emails, WhatsApp messages and calendar invites, but it was reportedly not seen by some employees, many of whom discussed via WhatsApp on their personal phones as well as work devices .
Personal phones cannot be accessed by Ms. Gray’s investigation unless the employee voluntarily gives them. However, employees may be forced to hand over workplace handsets.
Sources claim that many employees who attended the lockdown-ending incidents are no longer working at Number 10, and others have erased messages from their phones, all of the wrongdoing available to Ms. Gathering evidence will be difficult, claim sources.
Emails to number 10 are automatically deleted after 90 days for security reasons. This is also the situation in some other sensitive government departments but not in all.
Ultimately, deleted emails can be recovered from servers, but it’s far more challenging than accessing historical messages in some other departments, according to people familiar with the process.
The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Evans of Weardale, said that civil servants should remember that all messages relevant to government business should be retained and recorded.
A Number 10 spokesperson told The Independent that they do not recognize the claims.
“Clear guidance was given to the employees to retain any relevant information. As stipulated in the terms of reference, all employees are expected to fully cooperate in the investigation,” the spokesperson said.
Ms Rainer said: “The latest revelations about this scandal raise even more questions for a prime minister who has no answers.
“From missing minutes to secret WhatsApp messages, the culture of cover-ups in Boris Johnson’s No. 10 is endemic and the rot starts at the top.
“The prime minister has a habit of trying to evade scrutiny, but the results are coming before him. The public deserves to know the truth as to what happened while making so many sacrifices to follow the rules.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: “Destroying evidence of what may soon be a police investigation is an incredibly serious crime.
“No wonder the public has lost all faith in Boris Johnson’s Downing Street. This will be a new low for his government as well.
“Sue Gray should ask everyone involved whether she has been pressured or ordered to remove messages and emails relating to any party. If there has been a cover-up, it should be exposed and all details public. No more hiding or lying to this Prime Minister should be done.