Covid inquiry participants briefed on top official’s health


  • By Chris Mason & Jim Reed
  • Political editor and health reporter

Key participants in the Covid inquiry have been briefed about the cabinet secretary’s health, given the ongoing postponement of his evidence session.

It was announced a month ago that Simon Case, the most senior official in the civil service, would be taking time off work because of what was described as a “private medical matter”.

However, it now appears there could be a further delay to him giving evidence.

In a letter from the solicitor to the inquiry to what are known as its core participants, “private medical information” relating to Mr Case has been shared “in order to update them on his ability to give evidence during the Module 2 hearing and seek any representations which they wished to make”.

Those who have been sent the letter are banned from sharing any information within it and “this order remains in force for the duration of the inquiry and at all times thereafter”.

Recipients are told that “the High Court and the Court of Session have the power to imprison or fine for any breach of this order”.

The Cabinet Office has not commented on the letter.

Although he has not yet given evidence in person, Mr Case has already come up in the inquiry through published WhatsApp messages.

The inquiry, which is examining the government’s handling of the pandemic, is currently on its second module, looking at UK decision-making and political governance.

On Monday the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, gave evidence, with England’s chief medical officer Prof Sir Chris Whitty due to appear on Tuesday.

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