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Mark Drakeford accused in WhatsApp row

08 Nov 2023 3 minute read
WhatsApp on a smartphone.

Emily Price

A screenshot has surfaced of Mark Drakeford’s WhatsApp profile – despite the first minister saying he does not use the app.

Nation.Cymru understands the screenshot is genuine and is linked to the first minister’s Senedd phone.

It follows an exchange between the First Minister and Andrew RT Davies during FMQs on Tuesday (November 7) in which Mr Drakeford was quizzed on whether electronic messages sent during the Covid -19 pandemic could have been deleted.

In his repose, Mr Drakeford said: “The Welsh Government did not rely on informal means of communication in order to make decisions during the Covid period.

“However, during the Covid period itself, many colleagues working for the Welsh Government will have had devices with deletion instructions already on them, and those things may have remained on their phones, because at the point nobody, I think was focused on whether those messages might be required at some future distant point.”

He later added: “I’ve never had any deletion arrangements on the phone, because I would have no idea how to make it happen, I don’t use WhatsApp either.”

Clarification

However, on Wednesday (November 8) an image was shared on X (formally know as Twitter) by the Welsh Tory leader along with the caption: “Yesterday in the Senedd, in response to questions about the Covid Inquiry, Mark Drakeford claimed he does not use WhatsApp.

“Yet I’ve been sent a screenshot of his account. I’ve written to him requesting urgent clarification.”

Decisions

A spokesperson for Mark Drakeford said: “Having reviewed the exchange with the leader of the Welsh Conservatives during First Minister’s Questions yesterday the First Minister has written to the Presiding Officer to clarify that “WhatsApp” is downloaded on his Senedd-issued mobile phone.

“Whilst the First Minister does not regularly use WhatsApp to send messages he has asked that the Record be amended on this particular point.

“The First Minister also reiterated that the Welsh Government did not use informal means of communication to make decisions during the pandemic and that we continue to co-operate fully with the UK Covid-19 inquiry and will disclose all material requested, including WhatsApp messages.”

In a statement, Andrew RT Davies said: “To learn the lessons of the pandemic, all messages sent and received by ministers, special advisers and civil servants should have been retained.”


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MattJ
MattJ
6 months ago

Whatsapp should be blocked from being installed on Senedd issued phones and it should be forbidden for it to be used for Government business if installed on a private device.

Only messaging services with archiving and retention policies that the Senedd controls should be allowed to be used.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

ARTD is quite correct, any official comms, they need to be retained. Speaking of which I wonder what back channel chat regard orders ARTD receives from No10. We should see them as well.

Now, can he highlight this to his masters in No10, his new Boss and his old boss seems to have difficulty here.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago

Right at the last line, RT has trodden in the hypocrisy dog poo AGAIN! ‘Should have been retained’ MUST be directed at Boris Johnson surely.

cablestreet
cablestreet
6 months ago

Two Planks is at it again. Just because Mark Drakeford has an app on his phone doesn’t mean
he uses it. Has he got a screen shot of him actually using it?

A.Redman
A.Redman
6 months ago
Reply to  cablestreet

He said he does not use it.What is so difficult to understand?

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
6 months ago

Lots of apps are installed as default on modern hand-held computers (aka smartphones), it doesn’t mean they are used. There is no evidence to show Mr Drakeford used WhatsApp, no matter how much rt rants on.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

He says he does not use it regularly to send messages- i would say this shows he does use it.

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
6 months ago

Look, a squirrel!

RT scraping the barrel again here. There are apps on my phone that I never use, or wouldn’t know how to.

The two things are not mutually exclusive and RT makes himself look a bit of an idiot again tbh.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago
Reply to  Maglocunos

I would be interested to know how ARTD got the screen shot then decided to publish it on the far right conspiracy network formally known as twitter.

Some ethics at the heart here concerning privacy and sharing data. Remembering this turnip is looking to lead the Welsh cons to power.

A.Redman
A.Redman
6 months ago

Just as well he wasn’t in court !

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