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Chris Cook made this Freedom of Information request to Cabinet Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Cabinet Office.

Dear Cabinet Office,

I would like disclosure of a set of documents requested by Dominic Grieve QC via a Humble Address, as follows:
"...all correspondence and other communications (whether formal or informal, in both written and electronic form, including but not limited to messaging services including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook messenger, private email accounts both encrypted and unencrypted, text messaging and iMessage and the use of both official and personal mobile phones) to, from or within the present administration, since 23 July 2019 relating to the prorogation of Parliament sent or received by one or more of the following individuals: Hugh Bennett, Simon Burton, Dominic Cummings, Nikki da Costa, Tom Irven, Sir Roy Stone, Christopher James, Lee Cain or Beatrice Timpson"

I would note several points of law:

- First, that the fact of the use of private messaging services does -not- change the operability of the law in relation to them. During litigation I undertook when Michael Gove sought to make this argument at the Department for Education, it was accepted by government that there was a requirement and expectation that any government data held in private services would be disclosable.

I'd note that, even at that point, your former director of ethics and propriety noted that

- Second, the original Humble Address should have been treated as a FOIA or EIR request, even if it were not phrased as one. It is incumbent on the department to use the appropriate framework for answering requests. I would note that this means section 77 started to take effect on the moment at which that request was made, and any deletion from that moment would be considered a criminal offence.

- Third, I would argue that, given that, for example, the Trade, Fisheries and Animal Cruelty Bills were dropped as a consequence of prorogation, there is a strong case for treating this as an EIR request.

- Fourth, please make sure to collect the data from your staff quickly, given the strong chance of deletion, resignation or firing. I would remind you that in the event that there are no Qualified Persons available to sign certificates, the exemptions reliant on a Qualified Person cease to be operative.

If you wish to discharge your section 16 powers, please call me on my mobile number, which I will supply separately (this case is being published on whatdotheyknow.com).

Yours faithfully,

Chris Cook

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

CABINET OFFICE REFERENCE:  FOI328604

Dear Chris Cook

Thank you for your request for information. Your request was received on
12/09/2019 and we are considering if it is appropriate to deal with under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This email is just a short acknowledgement of your request.

When corresponding with the Cabinet Office, you may wish to be aware of
how we treat your personal Information.  This is set out in our personal
information charter, at the following
link: [1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

If you have any queries about this email, please contact the FOI team.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

 Knowledge and Information Management Unit

Cabinet Office

E: [2][Cabinet Office request email]

References

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FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

1 Attachment

Please find attached the reply to your FOI request

 

 

 

Regards

 

 

FOI Team

Room 405

70 Whitehall,

London, SW1A 2AS

E-mail -[1][Cabinet Office request email] 

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

1 Attachment

Please find attached the reply to your FOI request

 

 

 

Regards

 

 

FOI Team

Room 405

70 Whitehall,

London, SW1A 2AS

E-mail -[1][Cabinet Office request email] 

References

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