LONDON – Boris Johnson has been unable to hand over important WhatsApp messages to a UK inquiry because he cannot remember the passcode to his old iPhone, it was reported on Thursday.
According to Times of London, the former PM doesn’t remember the “100 percent confidence” code to access his old device, which he stopped using in May 2021 amid security concerns. A spokesman for Johnson did not deny the paper’s story.
The Times reports that there are concerns that the device will automatically turn off and delete content if the wrong code is entered.
The UK’s COVID inquiry has requested all of Johnson’s pandemic WhatsApp messages and documents. The Cabinet Office rejected the request – saying it was “unnecessary” – but they lost their legal status last week.
The government was given until 4 o’clock last Monday to submit all materials to the investigation. But most of the information connected to Johnson is on his old, inaccessible phone.
The phone has been switched off and effectively blocked since May 2021, after the Popbitch newspaper revealed that its phone number had been in the public domain for 15 years. The phone is now held by Johnson’s lawyers, while the former Prime Minister has asked government security experts to help find its contents.
“Government experts who have been appointed by the government continue to return things to the device in a safe manner. As we have said before, Mr Johnson has fully agreed with them on this issue,” a spokesman for the former Prime Minister said on Thursday.
“They want to disclose everything that’s important and that’s why they’re agreeing to this,” Johnson’s spokesman added.
According to the Times, the Cabinet Office is looking into whether it has a record of Johnson’s forgotten passcode.