British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a third lockdown, it was claimed last night.
The incendiary remark is said to have come after he reluctantly imposed the second lockdown, sources told the Mail.
Last night, Downing Street strongly denied Johnson made the comment, stressing that it was “just another lie”. But those who say they heard it stand by their claim.
It allegedly came after British PM Michael Gove warned the premier that soldiers would be needed to guard hospitals overrun with COVID-19 victims.
He agreed to new restrictions but his frustration is said to have boiled over after the crucial meeting at No 10 in October. “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!” He allegedly said in anger.
Johnson is also reported to have made similarly blunt remarks during the crisis.
The disclosure comes amid a spectacular public war of words between him and his former chief of staff Dominic Cummings.
Cummings is expected to use his appearance before a Commons committee next month to challenge the premier’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
He tweeted over the weekend that the failure to introduce travel bans more quickly was “a very important issue re: learning from the disaster”.
The Prime Minister’s critics say the third lockdown he introduced in January could have been avoided had he yielded to pressure from Cabinet Office minister Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to make the second lockdown stricter. Hopes of warding off a fourth lockdown have been boosted by the success of the vaccine program.
But the Prime Minister has still warned some restrictions may have to remain – or be reimposed – to safeguard against the risk of another COVID-19 wave.