Monday, September 27

Minister denies Johnson said “thousands” more Covid deaths better than Coronavirus lockdown


A senior minister has said a report that Boris Johnson said he would rather see the bodies stacked “by the thousands” than order a third shutdown is false.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace also dismissed claims that the government was “seedy” amid mounting allegations that the prime minister accepted undeclared donations from conservative donors.

Wallace’s denials came after the Daily Mail reported that an anonymous source claimed Johnson said at a Downing Street meeting in October: “No more fucking shutdowns, bodies piling up by the thousands.”

The arson claim follows an informational war this weekend between Johnson and his former key adviser Dominic Cummings, who resigned from his 10th position after what was believed to be a power struggle with Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds.

“Look, it’s not true, it has been categorically denied by practically everyone,” Wallace told Sky when asked about the reported comment.

Wallace said the claims were “gossip.” “Now we are entering a kind of comedy chapter of these gossip stories: anonymous sources, by anonymous advisers speaking of anonymous events.

“None of this is serious. The prime minister has been fully focused on delivering, together with his cabinet colleagues, the response to Covid. “

He added: “All of the ‘who said, what did he say’, I leave for the Oscar gossip columns that are now launching today after last night.”

Johnson faces a series of allegations about his confusing initial handling of the Covid-19 crisis, questions about who financed the redecoration of his Downing Street flat, and claims that multi-million dollar contracts have been awarded to party donors.

Downing Street named Cummings on Thursday as the source of a series of damaging leaks about the prime minister. Cummings responded Friday, denying he was the source and calling Johnson incompetent and lacking in integrity.

Cummings said Johnson’s plans for donors to secretly pay for the renovation of his Downing Street plan were “unethical, foolish, possibly illegal, and almost certainly in violation of the rules on proper disclosure of political donations.”

On BBC Radio 4 Today, the defense secretary said Johnson paid for the Downing Street flat renovation “out of his own pocket” and that all the rules were followed.

“As the prime minister has made clear, the prime minister personally paid for the flat. The prime minister has followed the rules at all stages and we have been very clear about it.

“We have engaged with the Election Commission and we will continue to engage with that,” he said.

Wallace said he did not “acknowledge” suggestions that Johnson had asked conservative donors for financial help to pay for the upgrades, saying they are “based on a lot of speculation.”

He added: “The prime minister, as I have said, paid for it with his money. The action he did was to pay the money for the apartment out of his own pocket. “

Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, is expected to be questioned on Monday about Cummings’ claim that the prime minister tried to quash a formal leak investigation, the so-called search for a “chattering rat,” because it implicated a friend of Symonds. .

The case will appear Monday afternoon before the public administration and constitutional affairs commission.

Lord Barwell, who served as Downing Street chief of staff under Theresa May, said the information war between No. 10 and Dominic Cummings “has the potential to be extremely destabilizing.”

The former Conservative minister told Times Radio: “I think there will be great frustration among Conservative MPs, councilors and candidates with the elections coming up in early May that this appears to be a totally self-inflicted wound, that this story of everyone We are Talking was motivated by someone at Issue 10 – or the Prime Minister himself supposedly – accusing Dominic Cummings of being behind all the recent leaks.

“There are still some important unanswered questions and we have seen more revelations over the weekend and in the newspapers this morning; clearly, there is more information that could be released.”

Lord Barwell said that the investigation into the so-called “Talking rat” escape Compared to the end of November last year, it had taken “a long time.”

“My own experience working for Theresa when we had a very serious leak from the national security council and she asked the cabinet secretary to do a very aggressive investigation to find who was responsible is that it actually only took a few days to check the phones and email communications, so this has been going on for four or five months and I think MPs will want to know why it has taken so long and where it has come. “


www.theguardian.com

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