Dominic Cummings Says He Heard Boris Johnson Make "Bodies Pile High" Lockdown Comments
Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied making the comments (PA)
3 min read
Dominic Cummings has confirmed that he heard Boris Johnson say he would rather "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" than implement a third lockdown.
The Prime Minister has denied making the comments at the end of October, describing the accounts as "total rubbish".
Both Johnson and his official spokesperson made on-the-record statements saying the reports were untrue, including to MPs in the Commons.
But in an explosive evidence session on Wednesday, his former aide said he had personally heard the PM make the comments in his No10 study.
"There have been a few different versions of these stories knocking around," Cummings said.
"There was a version of it in The Sunday Times which was not accurate but the version that the BBC reported was accurate.
"I heard that in the Prime Minister's study".
Cummings said the incident happened on 31 October 2020, just after Johnson had approved a second national lockdown.
While there have been a number of reports of people hearing the comments, Cummings' admission today is especially significant as he is the first person to go on-the-record to claim they heard the remarks.
The former aide said Johnson had initially refused to implement a second lockdown in September despite him saying "all credible people" were supportive of fresh restrictions.
"The Prime Minister decided no, and we are going to try to hit and hope," he said.
Cummings claimed the PM had avoided involving his cabinet colleages in the decision, saying he was "ignoring the advice" from experts.
"He wasn't taking any advice. He was making the decisions himself," he said.
"The Cabinet wasn't involved or asked… There wasn't any formal Cabinet meeting to discuss it. Or if there was, it was a purely Potemkin exercise.
He added: "He wasn’t taking any advice he was just taking his own decision that he was going to ignore the advice."
The former No10 aide also claimed there was a "great misunderstanding" that the PM's hospitalisation had made him take the pandemic more seriously, saying that "in fact, after the first lockdown, he was cross with me and others for what he regarded as pushing him into the first lockdown".
He added: "His argument after that happened was literally I quote: 'I should have been the mayor of Jaws and kept the beaches open'. That's what he said on many, many occasions.
"He didn't think in July or September 'thank goodness we did the first lockdown, it was obviously the right thing to do, etc etc'. His argument then was 'we shouldn't have done the first lockdown and I'm not going to make the same mistake again'."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe