Covid: Boris Johnson resisted autumn lockdown as only over-80s dying - Dominic Cummings

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media captionBoris Johnson "put his ain interests up of people's lives"

Boris Johnson was reluctant to tighten Covid restrictions arsenic cases roseate past autumn due to the fact that helium thought radical dying from it were "essentially each implicit 80", Dominic Cummings has claimed.

He besides said the premier curate had messaged him to say: "I nary longer bargain each this NHS overwhelmed stuff."

Mr Johnson had wanted to fto Covid "wash done the country" alternatively than destruct the economy, Mr Cummings said.

The claims came successful an interrogation with BBC governmental exertion Laura Kuenssberg.

It is the archetypal clip Mr Cummings - Mr Johnson's erstwhile main advisor - has fixed a one-on-one TV interrogation during his vocation successful politics.

In response, Downing Street said the premier curate had taken the "necessary enactment to support lives and livelihoods, guided by the champion technological advice" passim the pandemic.

And the authorities had prevented the NHS "from being overwhelmed done 3 nationalist lockdowns", a spokesperson added.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Cummings besides said that, adjacent the commencement of the pandemic past year, Mr Johnson had wanted to support his play face-to-face meetings with the Queen going - but helium had to pass his brag that she mightiness dice if she caught coronavirus.

And helium defended his arguable determination to thrust to his parents' workplace successful County Durham aft the archetypal lockdown started, but admitted helium had not "come clean" astir each the reasons down it, including "security concerns" astir his household location successful London.

The claims made astatine that league were explosive, but he's since been criticised for failing to supply the grounds to backmost up immoderate of those assertions.

Dominic Cummings: The Interview volition beryllium broadcast successful the UK connected BBC Two astatine 19:00 BST connected Tuesday, and it volition beryllium available connected BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds

Covid cases dipped past summertime but began to emergence rapidly again arsenic autumn started, prompting a statement wrong authorities astir what measures were needed.

Mr Cummings told the BBC that he, UK main technological advisor Sir Patrick Vallance and England's main aesculapian serviceman Professor Chris Whitty had pushed for tougher restrictions from mid-September - Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty declined to comment.

Mr Cummings went connected to allege Mr Johnson had said: "No, nary no, no, no, I'm not doing it."

The premier curate had "parts of the media and Tory enactment screaming" not to summation restrictions and "always referred" to the Daily Telegraph, for which helium had antecedently written a column, arsenic "my existent boss", Mr Cummings said.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionDominic Cummings discontinue arsenic the PM's main advisor past autumn pursuing a Downing Street powerfulness struggle

On 13 October, with Covid deaths having risen to much than 100 a day, Labour person Sir Keir Starmer called for a "circuit-breaker" lockdown of 2 to 3 weeks, but the authorities decided against this.

In a WhatsApp connection sent connected 15 October, shared with the BBC, Mr Johnson appears to person described himself arsenic "slightly rocked by immoderate of the information connected Covid fatalities".

The "median age" for those dying was betwixt 81 and 82 for men and 85 for women, the premier curate allegedly wrote, adding: "That is supra beingness expectancy. So get Covid and Live longer.

"Hardly anyone nether 60 goes into hospital... and of those virtually each survive. And I nary longer bargain each this NHS overwhelmed stuff. Folks I deliberation we whitethorn request to recalibrate... There are max 3m successful this state aged implicit 80."

He reportedly went connected to write: "It shows we don't spell for nationwide lockdown."

But the premier curate announced a four-week lockdown for England connected 31 October, saying this was needed to support the NHS arsenic figures suggested deaths could scope "several 1000 a day" without "tough action".

Queen meetings row

Looking backmost to the commencement of the pandemic, Mr Cummings told the BBC helium had intervened to halt Mr Johnson continuing to spot the Queen, past aged 93, for play face-to-face meetings.

Mr Cummings claimed that, connected 18 March past year, the PM had said: "I'm going to spot the Queen... That's what I bash each Wednesday. Sod this. I'm going to spell and spot her."

image copyrightReuters

image captionBoris Johnson's face-to-face meetings with the Queen did not restart until June this year

He added that helium had told Mr Johnson: "There's radical successful this bureau who are isolating. You mightiness person coronavirus. I mightiness person coronavirus.

"You can't spell and spot the Queen. What if you spell and spot her and springiness the Queen coronavirus? You evidently can't go."

He continued: "I conscionable said, 'If you springiness her coronavirus and she dies, what are you going to [do]? You can't bash that. You can't hazard that. That's wholly insane.'

"And [the PM] said - helium fundamentally conscionable hadn't thought it done - 'Yeah...I can't go'."

Downing Street denied that this incidental took spot and Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Long thrust north

On 27 March past year, 4 days aft the archetypal lockdown began, Mr Cummings drove his woman and lad from London to his parents' workplace successful County Durham.

While staying there, helium made a 30-mile roadworthy travel to Barnard Castle connected 12 April, which helium aboriginal said had been to trial his eyesight earlier the 260-mile thrust backmost to London.

When these details were revealed they provoked immense choler - and accusations of treble standards astatine a clip erstwhile the authorities had banned each but indispensable long-distance travel.

In his BBC interview, Mr Cummings said that, during the Barnard Castle trip, helium had been trying to enactment retired "Do I consciousness OK driving?"

image copyrightPA Media

image captionDominic Cummings faced the property successful the Downing Street plot past May

He besides said helium had decided to determination his household to County Durham earlier his woman fell sick with suspected Covid due to the fact that of information concerns implicit his location successful London.

Asked wherefore helium had fixed a communicative that was "not the 100% truth" erstwhile helium held a peculiar property league successful the Downing Street roseate plot connected 25 May, Mr Cummings admitted that "the mode we handled the full happening was wrong".

"What I should person done is either conscionable resigned and said thing astir anything," helium said, "or I should person spoken to my household and said, 'Listen, we're conscionable gonna person to travel cleanable astir the full thing.'"

'Entirely focused'

Mr Cummings was repeatedly challenged passim the interrogation to backmost up his mentation of events.

He says galore of his claims volition beryllium corroborated if determination is simply a nationalist inquiry.

Labour's shadiness wellness curate Justin Madders said relatives of Covid victims would find Mr Cummings's remarks "shocking and hard to hear".

"The revelations are further grounds that the premier curate has made the incorrect calls clip and again astatine the disbursal of nationalist health," helium added.

"Boris Johnson is reckless, unfit to govern and a nationalist enquiry cannot beryllium delayed".

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "Since the commencement of the pandemic, the premier curate has taken the indispensable enactment to support lives and livelihoods, guided by the champion technological advice.

"The authorities helium leads has delivered the fastest vaccination rollout successful Europe, saved millions of jobs done the furlough strategy and prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed done 3 nationalist lockdowns.

"The authorities is wholly focused connected emerging cautiously from the pandemic and gathering backmost better."

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