Boris Johnson is being encouraged to catch the person who prematurely leaked England’s second coronavirus lockdown by taking a leaf out of Coleen Rooney’s book, it has been claimed.
The prime minister is considering using a strategy known as the ‘canary trap’, in which different versions of top-secret briefings would be handed to Cabinet ministers to see which version gets published, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Mr Johnson is reportedly determined to prevent future Government leaks, after being left furious when details of the latest lockdown were revealed in the press 10 days ago. He was forced to rush through a press briefing two days early on Halloween to announce the plan before MPs could be formally told.
But the latest method being considered was similarly used by Wayne Rooney’s wife Coleen last year in an attempt to find out who was leaking her private stories to the media.
The mother and fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy hit the headlines on October 9, 2019 after Coleen took to social media to claim that Rebekah had been feeding The Sun information about her private posts.
Suspecting Rebekah was responsible for the leaks, Coleen had limited the number of people able to see her Instagram stories and made up fake anecdotes to see if they would make it into the press.
Coleen was dubbed ‘WAGatha Christie’ by the internet after revealing that she suspected Rebekah was the culprit after the false stories were written in the tabloids. Rebekah denies all claims.
The consideration of the canary trap idea was denied by a Downing Street source, saying it would not stop leaks from meetings.
Plans for a second nationwide lockdown were leaked on Friday October 31 – the same day they were discussed at a meeting, chaired by Mr Johnson.
It was attended by three other Cabinet ministers, Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and Rishi Sunak. All three deny any wrongdoing.
Mr Gove reportedly had his mobile checked by officials, while Mr Sunak and other Cabinet ministers were interviewed by security experts investigating the leak on Saturday. Mr Sunak’s spokesman declined to comment.
A source close to Mr Gove told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and members of his staff have co-operated fully with the inquiry and were happy to submit their phones for examination given they have nothing to hide.’
The source added: ‘It is common procedure to go through call logs and messages in a leak investigation.’
Mr Hancock’s spokesman said claims that he was the leaker ‘are categorically untrue and this will be demonstrated by the investigation’.