Take action against Government by WhatsApp 

Foxglove and The Citizens spent three days last week in court challenging the government’s use of disappearing messages. You can read about what happened in court here and here

The evidence we revealed – disclosed by government during the case – demonstrated that use of WhatsApp and other disappearing messages apps is rampant in the highest levels of government. 

At the height of the pandemic, the Prime Minister, the Health Secretary and top government health officials used a secret WhatsApp group to coordinate their Covid response. That evidence is clearly of vital importance to the Covid inquiry. 

Yet it remains unclear if those messages still exist, or if they were deleted forever, like the famous messages Dominic Cummings’s managed to screenshot – and we revealed last week were never properly recorded on government systems. 

Faced with this dire record, and routine breaking of rules designed to preserve the public record of our democracy, the government tried to persuade the judges neither the Citizens, nor Foxglove or indeed anyone else has the right to challenge these rules.  

We think that’s wrong.  

In a functioning democracy, the government’s actions must be open to fair and reasonable challenge from the public during the term of a parliament – not only at the ballot box every five years. 

It was bleakly amusing to look back at the government’s arguments last week in court, viewed from just a few days later, when the Met Police revealed they were to start handing out fines to government officials who broke the rules during the Partygate scandal.  

It is still unclear if we will be told if the Prime Minister receives a fine. 

It had been reported previously that senior officials at Number Ten had ordered staff to delete any WhatsApp messages related to parties in government that broke the rules.  

Any reasonable person might think that those messages would be important for any investigation into rule-breaking in government during the pandemic and thus the historic public record. 

But we now know that these messages may no longer exist. Again – we think that’s wrong.  

The court judgement will take some time. So please, in the meantime, help us to make sure every MP in the country, whatever party they’re in, is hearing from their constituents about this issue and being challenged to take a stand against it. 

We’ve created a tool below that allows you to write to your MP about this in just a few seconds. Hit the button below to get involved.