The Daily Mail reports the PM told an October meeting: “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”
Ben Wallace, the UK’s Defence Secretary, strongly rebuffed newspaper allegations that the Prime Minister told his colleagues in October that he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than invoke a third COVID-19 lockdown upon the nation.
New claims about Boris Johnson are “not true” and a “comedy chapter” in an ongoing Westminster briefing war, the cabinet minister has said.
The Daily Mail on Monday reported that Boris Johnson told a Downing Street meeting at the time: “No more ****ing lockdowns; let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”
But Mr Wallace has said that the claim was “not true”, while Number 10 has said the newspaper report was “just another lie”.
“It’s been categorically denied by practically everyone,” Mr Wallace added.
“We’re getting into the sort of comedy chapter now of these gossip stories – unnamed sources by unnamed advisers talking about unnamed events.
“None of this is serious.”
This comes after Britons’ prospects of booking a holiday abroad this summer have been given a boost, with the UK government saying that COVID passports will become available “as soon as possible”.
Ben Wallace said Mr Johnson and his cabinet ministers had been “utterly focussed” on their response to the coronavirus crisis.
“All the ‘who said, what said, what said’, I’ll leave that to the Oscar gossip columns that are now being rolled out today after last night, I’ll leave that to the Hello magazines of the world,” he said.
“But government is focussed on delivering for the citizen a COVID response.”
The Daily Mail has reported that the alleged comments by Mr Johnson were made towards the end of October last year as the UK was hit by a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
According to the newspaper, Boris Johnson was given a warning by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove that, without any new restrictions, soldiers would be needed to guard the hospitals that are overrun with COVID-19 patients.
The Prime Minister agreed to fresh measures but also vented his frustration during the talk, according to the Daily Mail’s account of the government meeting.
On the 31st of October last year, Mr Johnson announced a month-long lockdown within England throughout the month of November.
A “chatty rat” leak inquiry, which is still ongoing, was launched at the time, after briefings to the media about the pending restrictions that led Mr Johnson to announce the lockdown in November earlier than planned.
After a brief reopening, England then went back into a national lockdown again in January as government ministers had highlighted the impact of the Kent variant of the coronavirus.
This comes after the first legal nightclub event in the UK for over a year is set to take place at the end of this month in Liverpool. The event will be held across two nights, with the nightclub Circus hosting The First Dance event, which will be welcoming 6,000 club-goers.
The Labour Party has called The Prime Minister to make an official statement “as soon as possible” in order to address the claims within the report by the Daily Mail.
The allegation about Boris Johnson’s comments at the Downing Street meeting in October comes during a bitter feud between Number 10 and the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.
Last week, Downing Street “sources” were quoted in newspapers as blaming Dominic Cummings for the recent leaks about Boris Johnson’s private conversations.