United Kingdom

SNP say Boris Johnson must go if ‘let the bodies pile high’ claim is true

THE SNP have said Boris Johnson “has a duty to resign” if reports that he said he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a third lockdown are true.

Ian Blackford, the party’s leader at Westminster, called for the Prime Minister to come to Parliament urgently to give a statement and face questioning, on allegations of Tory sleaze.

The explosive remark about the bodies is said to have come after he reluctantly imposed the second lockdown in England, sources told the Daily Mail.

According to the paper the comment was allegedly made after Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove warned Johnson that soldiers would be needed to guard hospitals overrun with Covid victims.

Johnson agreed to fresh restrictions but his frustration is said to have boiled over after the crucial meeting at No 10 in October. “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!” he is alleged to have raged.

However, as senior figures were rebutting the comments, journalist Robert Peston said two witnesses had told them Johnson did make them.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson DID say ‘let the bodies pile high’, Robert Peston says

The ITV News political editor made the claims on his channel’s news blog yesterday. He said that two separate people had corroborated the claims to him.

Peston said that neither of these two people had spoken to the Mail, suggesting there are at least three sources who allegedly heard Johnson make the comment.

“I am told [Johnson] shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown ‘in a rage’. The doors to the Cabinet room and outer office were allegedly open and supposedly a number of people heard.

“I am bothering to repeat this assertion about what the Prime Minister said because two eyewitnesses – or perhaps I should say ‘ear witnesses’ – have corroborated the Daily Mail’s account to me.

“Also, these sources insist they did not brief the Mail, so that suggests there are three sources.”

The ITV political editor goes on to claim that the “chatty rat” who leaked information of a new lockdown at the end of October last year was not the PM’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings. He says he is sure that the Cabinet Secretary is aware of this.

READ MORE: Scots risk being anaesthetised to sleaze amid endless Tory scandals

The allegations come amid a spectacular public war of words between Johnson and Cummings with the former aide expected to use his appearance before a Commons committee next month to challenge the Prime Minister’s handling of the pandemic.

Blackford said: “These comments are utterly abhorrent. If they are true, Boris Johnson has a duty to resign. The Prime Minister must now come to Parliament to give a statement, and face questioning, on these shocking claims and the growing Tory sleaze scandal engulfing Westminster.

“The public have a right to know what is going on, and why the Tory government has been handing out multi-million-pound contracts, special access, tax breaks and peerages to Tory donors and friends.

“The difficulty for Boris Johnson is he has lied so many times it’s impossible for anyone to trust a word he says. A full independent public inquiry is the only way to provide transparency and accountability. Those responsible must be held to account.”

The Greens said the “heartless” comments attributed to Johnson showed that he is “totally unfit to be PM” and that they revealed a “callous” approach to human life.

Lorna Slater, the party’s co-leader, said: “The latest comments attributed to Boris Johnson are heartless and disgraceful.

“If true, they show a callous disregard for families all across the UK who have lost loved ones and underline that Johnson is unfit to be Prime Minister.”

READ MORE: Douglas Ross says comment attributed to Boris Johnson is ‘indefensible’

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the comments attributed to Johnson are “indefensible” – but stressed Downing Street had denied the PM had made them.

“The Prime Minister and Number 10 have been very clear he did not make those comments.

“Those comments made by anyone at any level of elected office in the country would be utterly unacceptable,” the Moray MP said.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar added his condemnation and called for the Prime Minister to apologise.

He said: “This reported comment is repugnant and deeply distressing.

“More than 10,000 families in Scotland and 130,000 families across the UK are grieving the loss of a loved one.”

Asked if he made the comments, Johnson told reporters in Wrexham: “No, but I think the important thing I think people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work.

“They have, and I really pay tribute to the people of this country, this whole country of ours, really pulled together and, working with the vaccination programme, we have got the disease under control.”

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