Sunak unfazed by Covid inquiry’s demand for unredacted WhatsApp messages

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has stated that he is not concerned about being embarrassed by messages seen by the Covid inquiry, despite the government’s legal battle over their disclosure. The government has taken the unprecedented step of suing the inquiry over its demands to see unredacted WhatsApp messages sent during the pandemic. However, the prime minister has insisted on a transparent approach.

Sunak, during a two-day trip to the United States, mentioned that he could not comment on the specifics of the case, but insisted the government had acted with “candour and transparency.” Over 55,000 documents have been disclosed so far, with more to come. When asked if he was worried about something coming out that would embarrass him personally, Sunak replied, “No, not at all.”

The Covid inquiry, established in May 2021, is investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic and is set to begin public hearings next week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed to hand over unredacted WhatsApp messages on his phone dating back to May 2021 but is unable to provide messages prior to that point due to a change in phones for security reasons.

In a BBC interview, Sunak also discussed the UK’s role in regulating artificial intelligence (AI), a topic he plans to discuss with President Biden at a White House meeting on Thursday. The prime minister aims to position post-Brexit UK as a global leader in setting new rules for emerging technology. Sunak argued that the level of AI investment in the UK and the quality of British research meant the country could “shape the conversation” on future rules.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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