Simon Case, the most senior civil servant in government, described Boris Johnson as a “nationally untrustworthy figure” and warned the public was unlikely to follow isolation rules if they were set by him.
The comment was published as part of the latest tranche of more than 100,000 private WhatsApp messages sent to former health secretary Matt Hancock at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which have been leaked to the Daily Telegraph.
The conversation between Hancock and Case took place on 30 October 2020, as testing capacity was being expanded nationally.
Hancock wrote to Case: “I’m going to stick with and drive this rollout. The PM is totally right on this. Rep. Rep. Rep.
Case replied shortly after: “Agreed. My concern is that while we can figure out how to test, we can’t figure out how to isolate people. We can’t fight this war because of behavior.” are losing out – this is something we have to change (which probably also depends on people hearing about the separation from trusted local figures, not unreliable figures at a national level like the PM, sadly).
Hancock then wrote: “Sure – but even with a bigger rocket the lorries won’t roll out until next weekend – so we can fix the new separation rules between now and then.” “
The talks came shortly after Kees, a former private secretary to Prince William, was chosen by Boris Johnson as cabinet secretary. Prior to this he was Permanent Secretary of Downing Street. He became the youngest cabinet secretary since 1916 when he moved from Buckingham Palace at the age of 41 to number 10.
The case got embroiled in the Partygate scandal when it emerged that a party was held at his private office. Junior colleagues were reportedly upset that Kess did not have to pay fines for parties breaking the lockdown, yet he himself was recused from his investigation when it came to light that a gathering had been held in his office. had to be removed.
The latest leaked messages follow revelations last week that Kess said it was hilarious that passengers had to be separated upon return to the UK.
On 16 February 2021, after being forced to quarantine on return from specific countries after holidays, Case asked Hancock: “Do you know how many people we locked up in hotels yesterday?”
The then health secretary said: “None. But 149 chose to enter the country and are now in quarantine hotels of their own accord!
Case replied: “Hilarious.”