Minister said that the government will probably lose legal case pertaining to Covid inquiry

A government minister stated that the government is likely to lose its legal case against the Covid investigation.

It follows the government's announcement that it would seek a judicial review of the inquiry's demand that it submit Boris Johnson's social media communications in their entirety. George Freeman, minister of science, stated that he had "very little doubt" that a court would rule that the documents should be handed over.

It is worth testing whether officials have a right to privacy, he added. The government missed a Thursday 16:00 BST deadline to transmit pandemic-related communications between Mr. Johnson and forty other ministers and officials.

The Cabinet Office, which assists the prime minister in administering the government, has argued that many of the messages are irrelevant and that releasing them would jeopardize ministers' privacy and impede future decision-making. Baroness Hallett, the retired judge and cross-bench peer who is presiding over the investigation, has stated that it is her responsibility to determine what information is pertinent.

Mr. Freeman told the sources that he believed Lady Hallett has the right to determine "what evidence she deems relevant" when he was asked whether he believed the government would prevail in the case.

He added that people's privacy is crucial and that the question of how to manage private correspondence warranted investigation. "I would like to see the investigation state, 'Listen, we will fully respect the privacy of anything unrelated to Covid. It will be redacted,' he said.

It is believed that this is the first time a government has challenged its own public inquiry in court. Mr. Johnson has stated that he has provided his messages to the Cabinet Office and would be more than glad for them to be forwarded to the investigation without any redactions.

His spokesman stated that the former prime minister has not provided any messages from before April 2021, more than a year into the pandemic, because his phone was involved in a security lapse and has not been turned on since. The spokesman added that he has written to the Cabinet Office requesting technical assistance to retrieve the content without compromising security.

The leader of the investigation into the 2009 swine flu outbreak, Dame Deirdre Hine, stated that legal action by the government would be most unwise. She told sources that she believes the government's action is imprudent and that they have no right to withhold the documents.

The former chief of staff for Theresa May, Lord Gavin Barwell, believes the government is making a terrible mistake by withholding the complete Whatsapp messages. He mentioned that they are conducting this investigation to assure people that they are getting to the truth. 

The saga unfolds just weeks before the inquiry tasked with identifying lessons from the pandemic response is scheduled to conduct its first public hearings.

Lobby Akinnola, a representative of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice organization, expressed exasperation at the government's decision to file the challenge and expressed concern that it was an attempt to render the investigation ineffective.

The group's attorney, Elkan Abrahamson, stated that the refusal to give over the documents "raises questions about the integrity of the inquiry and how open and transparent it will be if the chair is unable to see all of the documents."