UK PM’s former adviser confirms Johnson said ‘let the bodies pile high’

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford accused the Prime Minister of being

MPs were told that the PM was so convinced the virus was not lethal he wanted Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, to inject him with coronavirus live on TV to show it didn't really affect people - "that would not have helped" said Cummings, in something of an understatement.

Johnson later contracted the virus and was, at one point, moved to intensive care, before making a full recovery.

"In February [2020], the prime minister regarded this as just a scare story", Dominic Cummings told Parliament's science and health committees as part of an investigation into the UK's pandemic response.

Cummings, who left Johnson's government previous year, apologised for his own failure to act earlier to prevent the more than 120,000 people in the United Kingdom who have died of the coronavirus, saying the government was "lions led by donkeys".

With nearly 128,000 deaths, the United Kingdom has the world's fifth highest official COVID-19 toll, far higher than the government's initial worst-case estimates of only 20,000.

"And I'd like to say to all the families of those who died, unnecessarily, how sorry I am for the mistakes that were made and for my own mistakes", he said.

The Prime Minister, according to Mr Cummings, regretted the March 2020 lockdown by the summer, repeatedly saying he should have been like the mayor in the film Jaws who "kept the beaches open" despite the dangers. He later said plans had been prepared to announce his death.

By the time Mr Johnson did order another lockdown in late October, Mr Cummings said their relationship had broken down.

"The truth is that senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me, fell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis like this".

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Cummings cast the state as woefully disorganised, dominated by "groupthink" and run by ministers such as Health Secretary Matt Hancock who, he said, should be sacked for lying to the public and the government.

He related meetings in early 2020 when it started to dawn on some officials that Johnson's resistance to a lockdown was a deadly mistake.

"I think we are absolutely fucked", Cummings said, quoting McNamara.

On care homes, he said: "Hancock told us in the Cabinet Room that people were going to be tested before they went back to care homes. we only subsequently found out that that hadn't happened".

On PPE provision, Mr Cummings described the situation as a "disaster" with "hospitals all over the country" running out of supplies, despite assurances from the health secretary that "everything is fine".

His infection came just days after he imposed a nationwide lockdown, on March 23 - following a period where the administration's response "seemed like an out-of-control movie", Cummings testified.

Boris Johnson's former adviser Dominic Cummings confirmed today that he had heard the prime minister say "let the bodies pile high" when discussing whether he should lock down Britain again late previous year.

He occasionally strayed off the coronavirus crisis to ventilate his thoughts on how the 2019 general election offered a choice between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson.

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