PM Rutte's deleted texts can't be recovered; Parliamentary debate today
The text messages that Prime Minister Mark Rutte deleted every day for years can not be recovered. He said this in a letter to parliament. For years the Prime Minister only forwarded messages he considered "important for administrative decision making" to an official for archiving and deleted everything else. A parliamentary debate on this matter will happen today.
"When asked, the provider reported that text messages cannot be traced. These messages are not stored. The provider only stores so-called metadata for the purpose of 'billing' for a period of several months," Rutte wrote to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
On Wednesday, Rutte said that he had to delete messages because his old Nokia phone didn't have space to store them. He said that he "never deliberately" withheld important matters and that he adhered to the rules and guidelines. Professor of constitutional law, Wim Voermans, tweeted that Rutte's actions are "contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Archives Act and the Open Government Act."
The opposition parties are outraged by the Prime Minister's actions. According to them, this once again makes clear that the Prime Minister has little interest in openness and a new administrative culture. The matter is extra sensitive because the Cabinet promised to improve the transparency of the government.
Rutte has not built up a good reputation in this area in the past. During the investigation into the childcare allowance scandal, the "Rutte doctrine" was often mentioned, referring to ways to prevent certain documents from being given to parliament and journalists.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times