Dominic Cummings has said that he heard Boris Johnson say he would rather “let the bodies pile high” than punish the economy with a third national lockdown.
As his explosive select committee appearance dragged into a fourth hour, the prime minister’s former chief adviser revealed he “heard that in the PM’s study” immediately after Johnson decided to send England into a second lockdown on 31 October.
Cummings told MPs that Johnson regretted ordering the first lockdown – and when he ordered the second, vowed to never introduce a third.
SNP MP Carol Monaghan asked him: “Did you hear [Johnson] say ‘let the bodies piled high in their thousands’ or ‘it’s only killing eighty year olds’?”
Cummings replied: “There’s been a few different versions… of these stories knocking around. There was a version of the of of it in the Sunday Times, which was not accurate. But the version that the BBC reported was accurate.”
BREAKING: Dominic Cummings says he heard Boris Johnson say "let the bodies pile high" rather than hit the economy again.— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 26, 2021
"I heard that in the PM's study" immediately after Mr Johnson made the second lockdown decision on 31 October, he adds.
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The BBC reported in April that Johnson said he would rather see “bodies pile high” than lock the country down for a third time.
Earlier, Cummings claimed that the prime minister believed coronavirus was like “swine flu”, suggesting that people died unnecessarily because of government failings during the pandemic.
He apologised to the public, saying that ministers, officials and advisers had fallen “disastrously short” of the standards they should expect in a crisis.
Cummings said the prime minister was more concerned about the impact on the economy than the need to curb the spread of coronavirus in the weeks leading up to the first lockdown.
And he was scathing about the response of the Department of Health and Social Care, claiming Health Secretary Matt Hancock should have been fired.