The deadline for the UK Government to hand over Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages, diaries and personal notebooks to the Covid-19 public inquiry has expired.

The Cabinet Office had until 4pm on Thursday to comply with the demands from Baroness Hallett for the former prime minister's documents. 

The government department has previously claimed that some of the material requested by the former appeal court judge should remain secret on grounds of “unambiguous irrelevance.”

They said the “informal and conversational nature” of the messages would represent a “serious intrusion of privacy.”

However, if they have not handed them over, they could face criminal charges.

Alternatively, they could yet challenge the demand with a judicial review. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson puts pressure on Rishi Sunak over Covid inquiry evidence

Just 45 minutes before the 4pm deadline, Rishi Sunak told journalists the Government was still considering its next steps.

Speaking at a summit in Moldova, the Prime Minister said: “I think it’s really important that we learn the lessons of Covid so that we can be better prepared in the future.

“And we’re doing that in the spirit of rigour but also transparency and candour.

“We’ve co-operated, the Government’s co-operated thoroughly with the inquiry to date, handing over tens of thousands of documents, and we will continue to comply of course with the law, co-operate with the inquiry.

“We’re confident in our position but are carefully considering next steps.”

READ MORE: Government given 48 hours to hand Boris Johnson files to Covid inquiry

The first deadline for the messages and diaries was on Monday, but at the last minute, the UK Government said that it did not have them 

Yesterday Mr Johnson’s office said he had handed them over to officials, heaping pressure on his successor.

Whitehall officials are reportedly concerned about the wider precedent that will be set by handing over swathes of unredacted WhatsApp conversations.

They fear that Lady Hallet will then seek similar levels of disclosure from other senior figures including Mr Sunak himself.