Covid Inquiry WhatsApp Revelations Raise Concerns, Says Information Commissioner
Covid Inquiry WhatsApp Revel...
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Covid Inquiry WhatsApp Revelations Raise Concerns, Says Information Commissioner

22 January 2024
2 min.
Covid Inquiry WhatsApp Revelations Raise Concerns, Says Information Commissioner

Deleted Messages and Democracy

Scotland's Information Commissioner, David Hamilton, Raises Concerns Over UK Covid Inquiry Developments: Implications for Freedom of Information at Stake. Before Proceeding with Investigation, Hamilton Seeks to Confirm Authority.

Concerns arise after Nicola Sturgeon's pandemic-related WhatsApp messages were deleted. Sturgeon asserts that the inquiry has other messages and pandemic decisions were formally recorded. She vows to address questions openly in her upcoming inquiry appearance.

During the inquiry, a message from national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch surfaced, revealing his practice of deleting messages daily as a "pre-bed ritual."

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland program, Hamilton clarified his focus: “What we need to look at is the principles of the freedom of information regime, and that’s my locus in this, not the particular aspects of the inquiry.” He expressed concern over certain revelations from the inquiry and emphasized the importance of examining potential issues related to freedom of information.

Hamilton, responsible for enforcing freedom of information law, affirmed his commitment to protecting the freedom of information regime, deeming it “critical to democracy.” He mentioned reviewing past freedom of information requests to determine if they could have been affected by the concerns raised at the inquiry.

Acknowledging that some evidence suggests the potential subversion of freedom of information principles, Hamilton clarified that such evidence alone wouldn't prompt immediate action. He emphasized the need for context and investigation to assess the validity of the concerns raised during the inquiry.

Hamilton concluded by stating, “Some of the material that came out last week, I think many people would say it beggars belief in terms of what it is. Of course, that needs context and it needs investigation if there’s something wrong there.”

Baroness Hallett’s inquiry is scheduled to continue on Monday, featuring evidence from Scotland’s chief medical officer, Professor Sir Gregor Smith.

Persons4 and Companies2 in the news

Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
1 place
National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government
2 place
English radio and television presenter
3 place
First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP)
4 place
1 place
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