A Cabinet minister was forced to check her phone live on Good Morning Britain to see if she had Boris Johnson’s number.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage was questioned by hosts Kate Garraway and Sean Fletcher about the PM’s contacts, amid a row over texts sent to billionaire businessman Sir James Dyson.
It comes as Mr Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings was blamed by No 10 insiders for leaking the PM’s messages.
Fletcher said he would “love” Mr Johnson’s number to try and change things in the UK and expressed frustration that “some people” have the PM’s contact details while others don’t.
He asked Ms Dinenage: “Do they just hand out the numbers willy-nilly? What is the situation here?”
The cabinet minister responded: “Of course they don’t - I’m not even sure if I’ve got the Prime Minister’s number to be honest with you.”
‘Why is that reasonable?’
The hosts appeared astounded by this revelation, with Garraway interrupting: “Hang on a minute. You’re a Cabinet minister and you don’t have Boris Johnson’s number, but a commercial operator does have his number - why is that reasonable?”
Ms Dinenage seemed to become flustered, saying that she wasn’t “100 per cent sure” as she is not in the “habit of texting” Mr Johnson on a regular basis.
Fletcher then interjected to say: “You’ve either got it or you haven’t got it?”
The awkward discussion came to a head when Garraway asked Ms Dinenage to check her phone on-air to confirm whether she had the PM’s details.
The Culture Minister proceeded to grab her phone from a nearby table to quickly double-check while the two hosts laughed.
Ms Dinenage eventually revealed that she was not in possession of the PM’s number.
Investigation into texts leak launched
An internal investigation has been launched into the leak of Mr Johnson’s exchanges with Sir James.
The BBC reported the texts showed the PM saying he could “fix” the tax status of Dyson employees when they came to the UK to work on building ventilators at the onset of the pandemic.
Reports said that Downing Street sources are accusing Mr Cummings, who quit as the PM’s senior adviser last November, of being the source.
There are increasing concerns about the PM’s use of a personal mobile phone while in government.