Internet reacts to Penny Mordaunt claiming WhatsApp messages with Boris Johnson disappeared from her phone

Penny Mordaunt disclosed on December 19, 2023, that she had lost the messages she shared with Boris Johnson on WhatsApp. The conversation was related to COVID-19, and Mordaunt has denied knowing how the messages disappeared.

Independent reported that around 5,000 messages were shared between Penny and Boris, and recovering the same would be tough. The news of the disappearance of messages soon went viral, and netizens reacted to it on social media platforms. One of them also wrote,

“Potentially a bombshell here. This implies deliberate misconduct by Johnson, Gove et. al.”

A reaction to Penny's claims (Image via acgrayling/X)A reaction to Penny's claims (Image via acgrayling/X)
A reaction to Penny’s claims (Image via acgrayling/X)

Penny revealed the disappearance of the messages in writing to the Covid inquiry, adding that she tried to discuss the matter multiple times in the past with Johnson’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield, but the requests were repeatedly rejected. Cabinet officials later told Mordaunt that she might have to spend around £40,000 to find the reason behind the disappearance of the messages.

Penny Mordaunt’s statement mentioned that she decided to check the messages sent to Johnson after finding that the media was focusing on the steps taken by the government to look after the care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. She eventually discovered that the messages were missing from her phone.

Netizens react to Penny Mordaunt’s statement shared with the Covid inquiry

Penny Mordaunt recently revealed in a written statement to Covid inquiry that she lost her WhatsApp messages with Boris Johnson. According to the Guardian, she had once told Johnson to speak on the problem of “shielding in care homes,” and Johnson also replied to the message.

However, Mordaunt’s messages are now missing from her phone, and she could not give any reason for the same. The news has led to a lineup of reactions on social media platform X (formerly Twitter):

Netizens share their reactions on X (Images via mikercameron and SnellArthur/X)Netizens share their reactions on X (Images via mikercameron and SnellArthur/X)
Netizens share their reactions on X (Images via mikercameron and SnellArthur/X)
Netizens share their reactions on X (Images via NigelBenar and JolyonMaugham/X)Netizens share their reactions on X (Images via NigelBenar and JolyonMaugham/X)
Netizens share their reactions on X (Images via NigelBenar and JolyonMaugham/X)

Penny Mordaunt claimed in her statement Boris Johnson was using a new number from May 2021 and that she could not find the messages she shared with Michael Gove. Penny continuously sought a reply from Johnson’s security team but failed to respond.

“After some time it was suggested to us that because of a security breach the PM may have deleted all his messages and switched off his phone. However, this was portrayed to me as speculation on the part of the No 10 security team and would not explain why I had some messages and not others.”

HuffPost reported that the messages that disappeared were shared between January and June 2020. Boris Johnson responded to the claim by saying he never deleted the messages on his side and hinted there could be a technical problem.


Penny Mordaunt’s leads to a warning for other ministers

While Penny Mordaunt recently claimed that her messages with Boris Johnson have mysteriously disappeared, it led to a warning from Transparency International UK for other ministers, saying that similar incidents can prove to be a risk for them.

The organization’s senior research officer, Rose Whiffen, shared a statement that emphasized “transparency over communications” from all officials through any medium and continued,

“The Covid inquiry is showing both how important access to such messages can be, but also the impact the lack of access to them can have on effective scrutiny and the ability of inquiries like this to hold officials to account.”

The statement also mentioned that if an official deletes a conversation alone, it will “undermine their accountability to the public.”


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