LONDON — Boris Johnson’s team are pushing back at claims he’s “dragging his feet” in handing over messages to the U.K.’s official coronavirus inquiry as the former prime minister battles to … remember his iPhone passcode.
The Times reported Thursday that the ex-PM doesn’t remember with “100 percent confidence” the code to access his former device, which he stopped using in May 2021 amid security concerns.
There are concerns the device — held by Johnson’s lawyers — will automatically disable and potentially erase its contents if the wrong code is entered.
The U.K.’s COVID inquiry has requested all of Johnson’s pandemic WhatsApps and diaries.
The British government was given until 4 p.m. last Monday to hand over all material to the inquiry. But much of the material relevant to Johnson is on his old, currently inaccessible, mobile, which is being held by his lawyers.
Former Labour communications director Alastair Campbell said Thursday that Johnson should be arrested “for obstructing [the] course of justice.”
But POLITICO London Playbook reported Friday morning that the issue could be resolved as soon as today.
The government has, a spokesman for Johnson said, now “provided a passcode on their records which matches what Boris remembers.”
The actual typing of the passcode has to be done by government-appointed “technical experts,” said the spokesperson, at Johnson’s lawyers’ office.
“Boris is not dragging his feet on this, he’s really not,” a member of Johnson’s team insisted. “It’s actually out of his hands and in the hands of the appointees of the government. They need to crack on with it.”
One U.K. government official — not authorized to speak publicly about the row — gently pointed out that the administration’s tech experts have been around for weeks.