Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Boris must resign! SNP says Johnson must quit if ‘let bodies pile high’ comments true

Robert Peston discusses the future of Boris Johnson

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Insiders have alleged the comment was made after Michael Gove warned Mr Johnson a fresh lockdown was required unless he wanted to see soldiers guarding hospitals overrun with coronavirus victims. It was claimed Mr Johnson erupted in fury at the thought of placing England into a second lockdown, which was eventually announced on October 31, 2020. Mr Johnson was quoted as shouting: “No more f***ing lockdowns, let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”

Following the claims, made in the BBC, ITV and Mail Online, the SNP said the Prime Minister “has a duty to resign”.

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, urged Mr Johnson to attend Parliament and provide a statement to explain the alleged outburst.

Mr Blackford said: “These comments are utterly abhorrent.

“If they are true, Boris Johnson has a duty to resign.

“The Prime Minister must now come to Parliament to give a statement, and face questioning, on these shocking claims and the growing Tory sleaze scandal engulfing Westminster.

“The public have a right to know what is going on, and why the Tory government has been handing out multi-million-pound contracts, special access, tax breaks, and peerages to Tory donors and friends.

“The difficulty for Boris Johnson is he has lied so many times it’s impossible for anyone to trust a word he says.

“A full independent public inquiry is the only way to provide transparency and accountability.

“Those responsible must be held to account.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, said she was “profoundly shocked” by Mr Johnson’s alleged statement.

She said: “I feel a combination of being shocked, profoundly shocked at any suggestion that was said, but also, on some level, not being that surprised.

“I don’t know if he said it because I wasn’t there.

“However, based on my experiences of him I don’t find it impossible to believe.

“On the contrary, it is all too believable.”

She continued: “For any Prime Minister, for any human being, to be so glib and crass about human life, is profoundly shocking.

“I can only speak for myself, as First Minister over the past years I can’t begin to tell you the hours I’ve spent lying awake at night worrying about the impact of the decisions we’re taking, about whether we’re doing enough to save lives and what the impact of all of that was having on businesses.

“This has been a profoundly serious situation that we’ve all faced and I think it will upset and shock everybody to hear the very suggestion that a Prime Minister may have said something like that.”

Senior Government officials have denied Mr Johnson made such a remark, but ITV political correspondent Mr Peston said two witnesses had told him the Prime Minister did make them.

Mr Peston suggested there were at least three sources who allege they heard Mr Johnson make the comment.

He said: “I am told Mr Johnson shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown ‘in a rage’.

“The doors to the Cabinet room and outer office were allegedly open and supposedly a number of people heard.

“I am bothering to repeat this assertion about what the Prime Minister said because two eyewitnesses, or perhaps I should say ‘ear witnesses’, have corroborated the Daily Mail’s account to me.

“Also, these sources insist they did not brief the Mail, so that suggests there are three sources.”

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