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Gething brands lost Covid WhatsApp messages ‘real embarrassment’

11 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Screen grab from the UK Covid-19 Inquiry live stream of of Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health minister during the pandemic, giving evidence to phase four of the UK Covid inquiry. Photo UK Covid-19 Inquiry/PA Wire

Vaughan Gething has branded his lost pandemic WhatsApp messages a “real embarrassment”.

Wales’ health minister during the coronavirus pandemic, has defended his use of mobile phone messages at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

Tom Poole KC, the lead counsel for the inquiry, started Monday’s hearing by asking Mr Gething, who is in the running to be the country’s next first minister, about his use of WhatsApp messaging and why many were erased.

Mr Gething said: “It is a matter of real embarrassment, because if I’d been able to recover those messages then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Security rebuild

He blamed a “security rebuild” for their deletion and said he had spoken with the IT team at the Senedd on multiple occasions to attempt to get them back.

Mr Gething insisted that the messages were used in place of “conversations you have in the corridor” which were no longer possible during the pandemic and not for decision-making or to “circumvent processes within the government.”

The inquiry was shown Welsh government advice, which said that “any and all” official business conducted through personal mobiles and email must be “summarised and saved”.

Mr Gething accepted that, having now looked into the rules “in much more detail” and that he should not have used the messages in the way he did.

Review

He said: “I think we need to have a review going forward about what we do need to capture in record keeping and what is incidental.

“I think when you look at the records that are available, they do reflect the way in which we made choices and the reasons for them.”

He added: “I certainly do regret the fact that all those messages aren’t available to you because you could see them and satisfy yourself that all of the information there is consistent with all the information in the records you do have in front of you.”


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Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

How convenient!

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Its called “pulling a Boris”

But absolutely this needs tackling now, on the books comms all archived correctly. No personal phones used official business and no twitter or whatsapp on official phones.

Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago

Electronic shenanigans, can’t any messages be recovered from the recipients or have they been deleted as well? Or dose he not know/remember who he sent them to, sounds like they need to use some storage software to retain all messages sent to each other for future reference, Just a thaught. One rule for them, again.

Rob jones
Rob jones
1 month ago

How strange they can lose any information which shows how much they are liars and corrupt

robin campbell
robin campbell
1 month ago

What a sincere man and there I was thinking he was a lying …..

ci du
ci du
1 month ago

A convenient embarrasment, and one that would make anyone seriously embarrassed resign from their job. How fortunate we are that the person feeling this embarrassment is Vaughan Getthing, a man who knows neither shame nor self-reflection, nor joined up writing for that matter.

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