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Boris Johnson UK provokes fury over alleged let bodies pile high


Boris Johnson accused of saying he would rather let Covid 'rip' than … Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0100-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a mounting controversy this week over comments he allegedly made last year.

UK’s Boris Johnson provokes fury over alleged ‘let bodies pile high’ Covid comments

April 27, 2021

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a mounting controversy this week over comments he allegedly made last year.
  • News headlines in the U.K. are currently dominated with reports that Johnson allegedly told aides in Downing Street that he would rather see the “bodies pile high in their thousands” than approve a third lockdown.
  • Johnson and Downing Street strongly deny the reports.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he campaigns in Llandudno, north Wales on April 26, 2021.

PHIL NOBLE | AFP | Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing mounting controversy this week over comments he allegedly made last year during the height of the country's coronavirus pandemic.

News headlines in the U.K. are dominated by reports that Johnson allegedly told aides in Downing Street that he would rather see the “bodies pile high in their thousands” than approve a third national lockdown.

Johnson and Downing Street have vehemently denied that he used the phrase. On Monday, Johnson described the reports as “absolute rubbish,” and when asked whether he had made the remark, told reporters: “No, but again, I think the important thing … that people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work, and they have.”

The alleged comments, first reported by the Daily Mail Sunday citing anonymous Conservative Party sources, were reportedly said by the prime minister in mid-October after he had reluctantly agreed to a second lockdown that the country began in November.

The paper claimed the prime minister, frustrated over having to impose a second round of restrictions on public life and the economy, told aides: “No more —-ing lockdowns — let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”

The BBC and ITV both backed the story Monday, saying unnamed sources had also confirmed to them that the comments were made.

The alleged comments have provoked a frenzy among the British tabloid media, and hurt among the families of Covid victims after a difficult year for the country.

The U.K. has been badly hit by the pandemic; to date, it has recorded over 4.2 million cases and over 127,000 deaths. Still, its efficient vaccination rollout has enabled it to dramatically reduce the number of Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The reports come at a bad time for the prime minister, amid a flurry of stories that have put his conduct and integrity under the microscope. In the last week there have been questions over the source of funding for the refurbishment of Johnson's residence, Downing Street leaks to the press and contact between high-ranking officials and business leaders.

Much of the scrutiny comes after a series of damaging allegations were made by Johnson's former chief aide Dominic Cummings last week, which also increased speculation over power struggles in Downing Street last year.

Members of the media surround former Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings (R) as he leaves his residence in London on November 14, 2020.

JUSTIN TALLIS | AFP | Getty Images

The BBC reported that Johnson will chair a cabinet meeting Tuesday as he attempts to deflect attention from the growing furor. A Downing Street spokesperson told CNBC Tuesday: “The government is totally focused on delivering the people's priorities as we continue our vaccination programme and recover from coronavirus, creating new jobs and building back better.”

On the refurbishment of Johnson's residence at Downing Street, No.10 said the “costs of wider refurbishment in this year have been met by the Prime Minister personally.”

British newspapers, and the political opposition, are unlikely to let the PM off the hook so readily, however.

The Daily Mail — a right-leaning newspaper that has previously supported Boris Johnson — headlined its paper with “Boris on the ropes” on Tuesday, while the Metro paper led its front page with the phrase: “PM tainted by sleaze, say voters,” citing a poll that showed half of those polled believed there was a “culture of sleaze” in government.

The headlines came after Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Reeves said, “we're seeing the pipes burst with the sewage of allegations” against the government. She also described Johnson's alleged comments, which have been taken to suggest that he would have rather allowed thousands of deaths rather than another lockdown, as “stomach churning.”

The left-leaning Guardian newspaper headlined its paper Tuesday with: “Pressure on Johnson after claim of slur on Covid dead,” while the right-leaning Daily Express led with Johnson's rebuttal: “Boris denies 'let bodies pile high' outburst.”

Further reports emerged on Tuesday, however, with The Times newspaper saying it had been “repeatedly told” — although it did not name sources — that Johnson had said last September that he would rather let the coronavirus “rip” than impose a second lockdown because of the economic harm further restrictions would cause.


قراءة المزيد

UK's Boris Johnson provokes fury over alleged 'let bodies pile high … Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0100-BORIS Johnson is facing further accusations of his anti-lockdown stance as it emerged he told aides he would rather let coronavirus “rip” than…

Boris Johnson accused of saying he would rather let Covid ‘rip’ than lockdown

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing fresh accusations of his anti-lockdown stance

BORIS Johnson is facing further accusations of his anti-lockdown stance as it emerged he told aides he would rather let coronavirus “rip” than impose a second lockdown.

He was reported on Monday night to have argued during a government debate in September that lockdowns were “mad” as he raised concerns about harms to the economy.

The allegation surfaced after a growing number of sources were reported to have told how Johnson said he was prepared to let “bodies pile high” rather than order a third lockdown.

Robert Peston, the ITV News political editor, said on Monday that two witnesses backed up the claims that were originally revealed in the Daily Mail.

READ MORE: SNP say Boris Johnson must go if 'let the bodies pile high' claim is true

The journalist said the sources told him that Johnson “shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown ‘in a rage’”. The sources reportedly did not speak to the Mail, suggesting there were three witnesses to the rant.

The Prime Minister said that allegation was “total rubbish”, before further details surfaced of how he is said to have paid for expensive refurbishments to his Downing Street flat.

No 10 and the Tories declined to deny an ITV report stating that the Conservative Campaign Headquarters paid the Cabinet Office to cover initial costs of the refurbishments, with Johnson now repaying the party.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that the “costs of wider refurbishment have been met by the Prime Minister personally”, adding: “Gifts and benefits received in a ministerial capacity are, and will continue to be, declared in transparency returns.”

The SNP have called on Johnson to resign if the comments are true and the party is demanding a full independent inquiry into how Tory donors received lucrative Covid contracts, tax breaks and special access to government from Johnson's administration.

Describing the current government at Westminster as “corrupt to its very core” Alison Thewliss (below), the SNP's shadow chancellor, said: “With each day that passes, further details of the Tory sleaze engulfing Westminster come to light. Reports of Covid contracts for cronies, donations for decorating, and texts for tax breaks, simply cannot be brushed under the carpet.

“Meanwhile, there is mounting concern over the Tory leader's alleged remarks around lockdown measures needed to protect people's lives.

“We know only too well that Boris Johnson has a less than casual relationship with the truth and transparency. The public have a right to know what is going on, and how their money has been spent.

“It is beyond any doubt that we need a full independent public inquiry. Tory donors and friends have been handed lucrative contracts, special access, tax breaks and peerages by the Tory government, as well as Covid contracts being handed out like sweeties. 

“Boris Johnson must also now come before Parliament to answer these very serious allegations for himself.”

The decision on the second lockdown last autumn was leaked and is the subject of an inquiry to find the so-called “chatty rat” who tipped off the press.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, the UK's most senior civil servant, declined to say whether Johnson's former top aide, Dominic Cummings, had been cleared over that leak, as the former ally has claimed when striking back at allegations from within No 10.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon attacks Tory sleaze after 'let the bodies pile high' comment

In the latest criticism of his handling of the coronavirus crisis, the Times reported that Johnson repeatedly said he would rather “let it rip” than impose the second lockdown because restrictions would close businesses and cause job losses.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “These are gross distortions of his position. Throughout this pandemic we’ve done everything we can to save lives and protect livelihoods.”

Johnson ultimately announced the second lockdown for England in October.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove (above) defended Johnson, telling the Commons it is “incredible” to think he would have made the remark.

Gove said that “I was in that room, I never heard language of that kind”, in a defence stopping short of a full denial that the comments had been made.

Johnson is expected to address his Cabinet today after having previously denied he made the comments.

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing fresh accusations of his anti-lockdown stance

BORIS Johnson is facing further accusations of his anti-lockdown stance as it emerged he told aides he would rather let coronavirus “rip” than impose a second lockdown.

He was reported on Monday night to have argued during a government debate in September that lockdowns were “mad” as he raised concerns about harms to the economy.

The allegation surfaced after a growing number of sources were reported to have told how Johnson said he was prepared to let “bodies pile high” rather than order a third lockdown.

Robert Peston, the ITV News political editor, said on Monday that two witnesses backed up the claims that were originally revealed in the Daily Mail.

READ MORE: SNP say Boris Johnson must go if 'let the bodies pile high' claim is true

The journalist said the sources told him that Johnson “shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown ‘in a rage’”. The sources reportedly did not speak to the Mail, suggesting there were three witnesses to the rant.

The Prime Minister said that allegation was “total rubbish”, before further details surfaced of how he is said to have paid for expensive refurbishments to his Downing Street flat.

No 10 and the Tories declined to deny an ITV report stating that the Conservative Campaign Headquarters paid the Cabinet Office to cover initial costs of the refurbishments, with Johnson now repaying the party.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that the “costs of wider refurbishment have been met by the Prime Minister personally”, adding: “Gifts and benefits received in a ministerial capacity are, and will continue to be, declared in transparency returns.”

The SNP have called on Johnson to resign if the comments are true and the party is demanding a full independent inquiry into how Tory donors received lucrative Covid contracts, tax breaks and special access to government from Johnson's administration.

Describing the current government at Westminster as “corrupt to its very core” Alison Thewliss (below), the SNP's shadow chancellor, said: “With each day that passes, further details of the Tory sleaze engulfing Westminster come to light. Reports of Covid contracts for cronies, donations for decorating, and texts for tax breaks, simply cannot be brushed under the carpet.

“Meanwhile, there is mounting concern over the Tory leader's alleged remarks around lockdown measures needed to protect people's lives.

“We know only too well that Boris Johnson has a less than casual relationship with the truth and transparency. The public have a right to know what is going on, and how their money has been spent.

“It is beyond any doubt that we need a full independent public inquiry. Tory donors and friends have been handed lucrative contracts, special access, tax breaks and peerages by the Tory government, as well as Covid contracts being handed out like sweeties. 

“Boris Johnson must also now come before Parliament to answer these very serious allegations for himself.”

The decision on the second lockdown last autumn was leaked and is the subject of an inquiry to find the so-called “chatty rat” who tipped off the press.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, the UK's most senior civil servant, declined to say whether Johnson's former top aide, Dominic Cummings, had been cleared over that leak, as the former ally has claimed when striking back at allegations from within No 10.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon attacks Tory sleaze after 'let the bodies pile high' comment

In the latest criticism of his handling of the coronavirus crisis, the Times reported that Johnson repeatedly said he would rather “let it rip” than impose the second lockdown because restrictions would close businesses and cause job losses.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “These are gross distortions of his position. Throughout this pandemic we’ve done everything we can to save lives and protect livelihoods.”

Johnson ultimately announced the second lockdown for England in October.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove (above) defended Johnson, telling the Commons it is “incredible” to think he would have made the remark.

Gove said that “I was in that room, I never heard language of that kind”, in a defence stopping short of a full denial that the comments had been made.

Johnson is expected to address his Cabinet today after having previously denied he made the comments.


قراءة المزيد
– April 27, 2021
Boris Johnson UK provokes fury over alleged let bodies pile high