Boris Johnson witnesses say they will swear on oath he said he'd 'let the bodies pile high in their thousands'
- Boris Johnson’s colleagues are prepared to swear on oath he said he’d “let the bodies pile high,” rather than lockdown, ITV reported.
- Johnson has categorically denied making the comments.
- However, multiple news organisations have spoken to current and former colleagues who say they heard him.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Multiple sources who heard Boris Johnson saying he would rather “let the bodies pile high” than allow a third coronavirus lockdown say they are willing to testify under oath that he made the comments, ITV News reported.
The Daily Mail on Monday reported that Johnson shouted that he would “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than permit a third lockdown, at a meeting last October.
Johnson has denied making the comments but ITV News, BBC News, The Guardian and Politico have all spoken to multiple sources who say they heard Johnson making the comments in his office.
Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, on Tuesday said: “I was told by two sources is that the prime minister said this at the end of October in his study.
“He was furious because he felt he’d been railroaded into this second lockdown that happened in November. The Daily Mail initially reported he was so furious he’d rather see bodies piling up than a third lockdown.
“He was in his study and was shouting. I’ve got two ear-witnesses to all this and there’s a third … Both of my witnesses say that if asked under oath they would confirm the reports that ITV has put out and indeed the Mail have put out.”
The news raises the prospects of senior current and former aides potentially testifying against the prime minister in the forthcoming inquiry into the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
It comes as Boris Johnson comes under growing pressure on multiple fronts as he attempts to deflect several political scandals which threaten to engulf his premiership.
The British press and his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, have made several serious allegations about his personal conduct in the last year.
Those include questions about whether Johnson improperly sought political donations to pay for a refurbishment of his flat and whether he sought to delay a leak inquiry that implicated a close friend of his fiancee.
Sources told the Guardian that Johnson was increasingly “isolated” and “uncontrollable” in Downing Street as the allegations continue to swirl around him.
Downing Street has denied all of the allegations.
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