'Plenty more to come': Journalist warns of Hancock and Sunak 'exposé'

Ms Oakeshott said 'people shouldn't give me information if they've got something terrible to hide'

Words by Lewis Denison, ITV News Westminster Producer

There is "plenty more to come" in Matt Hancock's leaked WhatsApp messages, the journalist behind them has warned, including an "exposé" involving Rishi Sunak.

Isabel Oakeshott, who leaked more than 100,000 of the former health secretary's messages to the Daily Telegraph, told ITV News she is "looking forward" to revealing his communications with the PM.

Several highly damaging stories have already been revealed from the messages, which shed light on how the government led the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic before Mr Hancock was sacked as health secretary.

The latest one appears to reveal how the former Cabinet minister wanted to “get heavy” with police to increase enforcement of Covid rules, while another story claims he rejected advice on testing for entry to care homes. ITV News has not seen the original messages.

Now Ms Oakeshott has said there is "plenty more to come" and "of course there are" messages between Mr Hancock and Mr Sunak, who was chancellor at the time.

Asked what they were, she said: "I'm not going to pre-empt the Telegraph exposé, we are looking forward to sharing everything in those messages that we consider in the public interest."

She added: "We look forward to sharing what we think is in the public interest in terms of exchanges between Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock in due course."

The journalist said Number 10 "may have mixed feelings on all of this" but Downing Street sources have told ITV News they are not too worried.

Political Reporter Amy Lewis recaps the latest messages to emerge in the scandal

Number 10 said the right place to assess this kind of information is the coronavirus inquiry.

It referred ITV News to Mr Sunak's words at PMQs where he said the “right way” to investigate the government’s handling of the pandemic rather than relying on “piecemeal bits of information”.

Ms Oakeshott obtained Mr Hancock's WhatsApp messages when he allowed her to download them to assist with her ghostwriting of his book.

Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, said he was "hugely disappointed and sad at the massive betrayal and breach of trust" in his latest statement.

“There is absolutely no public interest case for this huge breach," he said, claiming the only place his communications should be scrutinised is the Covid inquiry, which is its very early stages.

The backbench MP said he will not be commenting further on stories currently published by the Telegraph relating to the leak, or any subsequent revelations.

Revelations from Matt Hancock's WhatsApp messages

It comes amid another controversy in Westminster; the potential hiring of Partygate investigator Sue Gray by the Labour Party.

Ms Grey quit her role as second permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office with immediate effect on Thursday to take up the role of Keir Starmer's chief of staff - but her appointment is subject to scrutiny over any conflicts of interest and could still be blocked by Rishi Sunak.

Tory MPs close to former prime minister Boris Johnson are furious about the news and labelling her damning Partygate report as a "stitch up".

Ms Gray's report was passed to police who used it as evidence when conducting their own investigation into rule breaking on Downing Street, which resulted in dozens being fined - including Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak.

The current PM does have the power to block the appointments of top civil servants after they leave government for up to two years if it decided there is a conflict of interest.

What did Boris Johnson really know about Downing Street’s notorious parties? With fresh revelations from our sources, in their own words, listen to the definitive behind-closed-doors story of one of the biggest scandals of our era...