Boris Johnson has confirmed that messages between him and James Dyson on the billionaire businessman’s tax affairs will be released on Friday, saying there was nothing “even remotely dubious” about the exchanges.
Downing Street announced a formal investigation into how text messages were leaked, before informally informing friendly newspapers that those inside No. 10 believed Dominic Cummings was the source.
In the messages, Dyson asks Johnson that company staff who worked in the UK temporarily on a plan to build medical ventilators at the start of the Covid pandemic should not be subject to additional taxes, and the prime minister agreed to help. .
Asked by reporters during a campaign visit to Derbyshire on Friday, Johnson confirmed that the full texts would be published, as promised earlier in the week. “Indeed. I think that’s happening today,” he said.
He denied wrongdoing: “Let me tell you, if you think there is something remotely dubious or rum or weird or sordid about trying to secure more fans at a time of a national pandemic and do everything in your power to do so, then believe that is crazy.
“When you are faced with a pandemic and you have 9,000 ventilators like us, that’s all we had, and as far as we know, putting people on ventilation was the only way to help people who are really struggling with Covid, for Of course, it was nice to put together the best of British manufacturing like we did with the fan challenge. “
Labor has argued that the problem is not that Dyson was involved in the fans, but rather that the texts showed how someone like the founder of the company had unfair access to make his case directly to the prime minister, and Johnson responded: “I’ll fix it. it is tome! “
The investigation will not examine a number of other leaks, including a text message to the Prime Minister from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or leaked emails about donations requested to cover renovations to the Prime Minister’s flat.
Hours after the investigation was announced, in a seemingly coordinated attack, The Telegraph, Times and Sun reported nearly identical comments from No. 10 sources blaming Cummings, Johnson’s former senior aide who was ousted last November.
The quotes, which appeared in part an attempt to distract media attention from the substance of the allegations of unfair access, which also include David Cameron’s lobbying of the now-collapsed company Greensill Capital, said Johnson was “disappointed.” and “saddened” by Cummings.
The Telegraph added that Cummings would have had legitimate access to the messages while working on issue 10, citing an insider who said: “If you connect the dots, it looks like it’s coming from Dom.”
Johnson’s spokesman did not deny that the quotes originated from inside Downing Street, but declined to discuss the issue further: “I will not comment on speculation and of course it is the Cabinet Office to carry that out. I’m working, I’m not going to get ahead of myself. “
On a campaign visit to Hartlepool, Keir Starmer condemned what he called “government by WhatsApp.”
The Labor leader said: “We now have discussions and fights in the center of government about who is leaking information about privileged access. Boris Johnson is desperate to try to put this within easy reach, but he obviously can’t. “
Johnson, who has had the same phone number for a decade, receives regular text messages from business leaders and politicians, the sources said. It is understood that you have generously distributed your personal number over the years.
Separately, Labor has formally asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak to release all logs of text messages, calls, or other informal meetings related to Covid’s fiscal rules and support schemes after Cameron’s lobbying.
Cameron, who was an advisor to Greensill Capital and held stock options, repeatedly contacted Sunak and other Treasury ministers during the onset of the coronavirus crisis last year to seek full access to government-backed loans for the finance company.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism