Danish government criticised over post-election mink text announcement

Denmark's government said on Tuesday it could not recover text messages requested by an official commission in relation to an ongoing inquiry. The timing, hours after local elections, was strongly criticised by opposition lawmakers.
Denmark's government said on Tuesday it could not recover text messages requested by an official commission in relation to an ongoing inquiry. The timing, hours after local elections, was strongly criticised by opposition lawmakers. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
The Ministry of Justice announced in a statement on Tuesday evening that SMS messages sent by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen or her staff in relation to the decision to cull fur farm minks in November 2020 could not be recovered.

As such, an official inquiry currently scrutinising the decision last year to cull millions of fur farm mink will not have insight into key government communication relating to the controversial decision.

The PM has faced questions over a policy to automatically delete texts after 30 days, a practice not universally applied across government ministries.

“It has only been possible for police technicians to recreate a limited amount of SMS messages from the devices of justice ministry heads of department,” justice minister Nick Hækkerup said in the statement.

READ ALSO: Why are Danish PM Frederiksen’s deleted mink texts causing controversy?

The timing of the announcement, less than 24 hours after local elections, drew immediate criticism from opposition parties.

The Ministry of Justice received the material needed for analysis of the devices on Friday last week, news wire Ritzau reports.

Justice spokesperson Morten Dahlin of the opposition Liberal party said it was “easy to assume” that the government held back the announcement to avoid a negative impact for the Social Democrats in local elections.

READ ALSO: How damaging is local election result for Danish PM Frederiksen?

“It’s foul play not to go public with this information when it was received, but instead choose to keep it back. And you can only speculate about whether this is because the information wasn’t allowed to come out before the municipal elections,” Dahlin said.

The Liberal representative stressed that his party has “no confidence” in the government’s response to the controversy over the mink texts.

Hækkerup rejected the suggestion by the Liberals that the government had deliberately withheld information until after the election.

“That is simply not true. The process was that we in the Ministry of Justice received the material in sealed envelopes on Friday. We agreed on Monday with the Mink Commission [official inquiry, ed.] that we should meet with the commission and its assistants which was to have the material and review it with their clients. So it’s a process that was agreed with the Mink Commission,” Hækkerup said.

The minister’s comment was in turn rejected by his opposition counterpart.

“The explanation that the information was stored in sealed envelopes, which were coincidentally not opened before the municipal elections, is ridiculous,” Dahlin said.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.