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So Boris did lie about saying ‘let the bodies pile high’ – are you surprised?

Maybe not. But it is shocking – and a man with such lack of reverence for human life must never again be allowed near a seat of power in the UK, writes Sean O’Grady

Wednesday 08 November 2023 15:33 GMT
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Most politicians didn’t look at our senior citizens in the pandemic and think: ‘Oh well, they’ll be dead soon anyway’
Most politicians didn’t look at our senior citizens in the pandemic and think: ‘Oh well, they’ll be dead soon anyway’ (PA)

I’m not sure what to make of the revelation that Boris Johnson really did say, in the autumn of 2020, that he’d rather “let the bodies pile high” than impose another lockdown or “circuit breaker” to prevent another wave of Covid overwhelming the NHS.

It’s now been confirmed at the Covid-19 inquiry by his own chief of staff, Lord Udny-Lister that Johnson did say exactly that during or after a meeting in September 2020. Unlike others, Eddie Lister, as he then was, was one of Johnson’s closest and most-trusted allies, going back to their time together in City Hall when Johnson was mayor of London. So, he doesn’t have an axe to grind. He did, though, provide a sworn statement that reads, for the sake of accuracy:

“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 form 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 unfortunate turn of phrase, it should be borne in mind that by this point the government was trying to avoid a further lockdown given the already severe impact on the economy and education.”

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