Boris Johnson mentioned he would moderately “let the bodies pile high” than impose one other lockdown in September 2020, in line with one in every of his most veteran aides – regardless of the previous prime minister denying making the comment a number of occasions.
Edward Udny-Lister made the revelation to the COVID inquiry as we speak.
It backs up studies in The Daily Mail and allegations made by Dominic Cummings in 2021.
Mr Johnson denied making the remarks on quite a few events – each on tv and within the House of Commons.
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Misleading the House of Commons was on the centre of Mr Johnson’s resignation from the Commons as an MP.
Lord Udny-Lister labored with Mr Johnson when he was mayor of London, in addition to when he was the overseas secretary.
He was one of the senior aides to Mr Johnson in Downing Street – alongside Mr Cummings – and finally changed Mr Cummings as chief of workers.
Lord Udny-Lister’s assertion to the inquiry mentioned: “In September 2020, the R number was rising. A circuit breaker was proposed in response to this increase and the health secretary was pushing hard for this to take place.
“However, the opposition to any type of lockdown was intense.
“I recall the PM saying in September 2020 that he would rather ‘let the bodies pile high’ than impose another lockdown.
“Whilst this was an unlucky flip of phrase, it ought to be born [sic] in thoughts that by this level the federal government was attempting to keep away from an additional lockdown given the already extreme affect on the financial system and schooling.”
Unlike Mr Cummings, Lord Udny-Lister is a long-term ally of Mr Johnson.
His proof was given on one other illuminating day on the official COVID inquiry.
As effectively because the above claims, Lord Udny-Lister laid out the dysfunctionality of Downing Street – particularly within the early days of the pandemic.
The adviser – who had a desk reverse Mr Cummings – mentioned: “Some of the personalities made it very, very toxic… Dominic Cumming’s relationship with other people had become very strained.”
And messages launched to the inquiry revealed that Mark Sedwill – then the top of the service – mentioned in July 2020 that “it’s hard to ask people to [march] to the sound of gunfire if they’re shot in the back”.
Simon Case – who’s now the top of the civil service – responded by saying: “I’ve never seen a bunch of people less well-equipped to run a country.”
He added that “top-drawer” potential recruits had refused to work in Downing Street due to the “toxic reputation” of the arrange.