26 Apr COVID-19: Minister denies Boris Johnson made ‘let the bodies pile high’ comment – and calls it ‘a comedy chapter in gossip stories’ | Politics News
Fresh claims about Boris Johnson are “not true” and a “comedy chapter” in an ongoing Westminster briefing war, a cabinet minister has told Sky News.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace strongly rebuffed newspaper allegations the prime minister told colleagues in October that he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than have a third COVID lockdown.
The Daily Mail on Monday reported Mr Johnson told a Number 10 meeting at the time: “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”
But Mr Wallace told Sky News the claim was “not true”, while Number 10 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.”
Mr Wallace said Mr Johnson and his cabinet ministers had been “utterly focussed” on their response to the COVID 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 allegation about Mr Johnson’s comments at the Number 10 meeting in October comes amid a bitter feud between Downing Street and the prime minister’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings.
Last week, Number 10 “sources” were quoted in newspapers as blaming Mr Cummings for recent leaks about the prime minister’s private conversations.
But Mr Cummings hit back and denied “false accusations”.
He went on to make a series of explosive claims in a 1,000-word blogpost about Mr Johnson, in which he also questioned the prime minister’s “competence and integrity”.