British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he fights in Llandudno, North Wales on April 26, 2021.
PHIL NOBLE | AFP | Getty Images
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces mounting controversy this week over comments he allegedly made last year during the height of the country’s coronavirus pandemic.
Headlines in the UK are dominated by reports that Johnson allegedly told Downing Street aides he would rather see the “bodies pile up by the thousands” than approve a third national lockdown.
Johnson and Downing Street have vehemently denied that he used the term. On Monday, Johnson described the reports as “absolute rubbish,” and when asked if he made the comment, he said to reporters, “No, but I think the most important thing … that people want us each other understand it as a government. ” make sure the locks are working and having them. “
The alleged comments, which were first published in the Daily Mail on Sunday, citing anonymous Conservative Party sources, were reportedly shared by the Prime Minister in mid-October after reluctantly agreeing to a second lockdown the country began in November.
Claiming the prime minister was frustrated by imposing a second round of restrictions on public life and the economy, the newspaper told the aides, “No more barriers – pile the bodies by the thousands!”
The BBC and ITV backed the story Monday, saying unnamed sources had also confirmed them the comments were made.
Integrity under attack
The alleged comments have caused madness on the British tabloid media and have hurt the families of Covid victims after a difficult year for the country.
Britain was hit hard by the pandemic; To date, there have been over 4.2 million cases and over 127,000 deaths. Thanks to the efficient introduction of vaccinations, the number of Covid cases, hospital stays and deaths have been drastically reduced.
The reports come at a bad time for the Prime Minister, amid a flurry of stories that have scrutinized his conduct and integrity. Last week there have been questions about the source of funding for the renovation of Johnson’s home, Downing Street leaks to the press and contact between senior officials and business executives.
Much of the audit comes after a series of damaging allegations by Johnson’s former chief assistant Dominic Cummings last week that also fueled speculation about power struggles on Downing Street last year.
Media officials surround former Special Adviser Number 10 Dominic Cummings (R) as he leaves his London residence on November 14, 2020.
JUSTIN TALLIS | AFP | Getty Images
The BBC reported that Johnson will chair a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to divert attention from the growing excitement. A Downing Street spokesman told CNBC on Tuesday, “The government is fully focused on meeting people’s priorities as we continue our immunization program and recover from the coronavirus, create new jobs and rebuild better.”
On the renovation of Johnson’s Downing Street residence, No. 10 said that “the cost of a major renovation this year was personally paid by the Prime Minister.”
“Boris on the ropes”
However, it is unlikely that UK newspapers and political opposition will let the Prime Minister off the hook anytime soon.
The Daily Mail – a right-wing newspaper that previously endorsed Boris Johnson – headed its newspaper “Boris on the Sopes” on Tuesday, while the Metro newspaper headed its front page with the phrase, “Citing a poll that found that half of those surveyed believed there was a “culture of laziness” in government.
The headlines came after Shadow Cabinet Secretary Rachel Reeves said against the government, “We’re seeing the sewer pipes burst from allegations”. She also described Johnson’s alleged comments suggesting that he would rather have allowed thousands of deaths than another lockdown than “an upset stomach.”
The left-wing Guardian newspaper Tuesday wrote in its newspaper: “Pressure on Johnson after Covid claims was dead,” while the right-wing Daily Express countered Johnson’s argument: “Boris denies” piling up corpses. “
However, more reports surfaced Tuesday when The Times newspaper said it had been “repeatedly said” – although no sources were named – that Johnson said last September that he would rather “rip apart” the coronavirus than one to impose a second lockdown because the economic damage would cause further restrictions.