BORIS Johnson’s wife Carrie was the “real person in charge” in Downing Street during the Covid pandemic, according to the UK’s most senior civil servant.

In WhatsApp messages shared between Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, former No 10 communications director Lee Cain, and Johnson’s former chief advisor Dominic Cummings, the three seemed in agreement that Carrie was the true power in government.

Case also said that the UK Government looked “like a terrible, tragic joke” and lacked the credibility needed to impose the lockdown measures required.

The messages have been shown to the ongoing official inquiry into the UK’s pandemic response.

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In early 2022, Carrie Johnson insisted she played “no role in government” after allegations that she held sway over her husband’s decision making.

But the messages between Cain, Case, and Cummings suggest that she was perceived as holding very significant influence.

Cain wrote “Wtf [what the f***] are we talking about,” and Case replied: “Whatever Carrie cares about, I guess.”

Cain then agreed, writing: “Quite.”

Case later wrote: “I was always told that Dom [Cummings] was the secret PM. How wrong they are. I look forward to telling [the Commons select committee] tomorrow ‘oh, f*** no, don’t worry about Dom, the real person in charge is Carrie’.”

Cummings (below) responded: “So true.”

The National: Dominic Cummings has given a press statement to assembled media (photo: PA)

In a later message, Case wrote: “This gov’t doesn’t have the credibility needed to be imposing stuff within only days of deciding not too [sic]. We look like a terrible, tragic joke. If we were going hard, that decision was needed weeks ago. I cannot cope with this.”

Cain responded with an emoji of a trolley, which Cummings has said was Boris Johnson’s nickname in Downing Street for the way he careered from one issue to the next without a sense of control.

The messages were undated, but shown on-screen during the Covid inquiry alongside an email from Cummings dated July 13, 2020. It will be published online at the end of the current hearing.

The inquiry, which is ongoing in London, previously heard that Boris Johnson thought it was "wrong" for him to hold regular meetings with Nicola Sturgeon and the Welsh First Minister during the Covid pandemic.

Johnson told the inquiry he feared working closely with the Scottish and Welsh governments which would have made the UK into a “mini-EU of four nations".

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In written evidence, he said: “It is optically wrong, in the first place, for the UK prime minister to hold regular meetings with other [devolved administration] first ministers, as though the UK were a kind of mini-EU of four nations and we were meeting as a 'council' in a federal structure.

"That is not, in my view, how devolution is meant to work."

Cummings had revealed in WhatsApp messages provided to the inquiry he had warned against phone calls with the first ministers of the devolved governments.

In messages sent on March 12, 2020, Cummings wrote: “You need to chair daily meetings in the Cabinet room – not COBRA – on this from tomorrow. [I’m] going to tell the system this.

“NOT with the [devolved administrations] on the [f******] phone all the time either so people [can’t] tell you the truth.”

In minutes of a meeting of UK Government ministers at the time, Tory politicians expressed fears regular meetings with the devolved administrations could be a “potential federalist Trojan horse”.