WORLD / EUROPE
Cummings airs grudge against British Prime Minister
Johnson attacked by former aide
Published: Jul 21, 2021 06:33 PM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photo: VCG

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photo: VCG

Boris Johnson's former adviser Dominic Cummings launched new attacks on the British Prime Minister on Tuesday, accusing him of taking coronavirus lightly and revealing he held conversations about ousting him.

In a BBC interview airing on Tuesday, the mastermind of Johnson's anti-EU Brexit campaign said his former boss "put his own political interests ahead of people's lives." 

Cummings resigned as chief Downing Street adviser in November after an internal power struggle. In the latest of a series of attacks on the government, he shared WhatsApp messages apparently from Johnson.

In one message shown by Cummings to the BBC, the prime minister allegedly wrote in October that most people were dying from the virus at a ripe old age.

"The median age is 82-81 for men 85 for women. That is above life expectancy. So get COVID[-19] and Live longer," Johnson was said to have written in the text message.

The prime minister also apparently downplayed the pandemic's impact on the National Health Service (NHS), despite receiving intensive care treatment for COVID-19 in spring 2020 himself.

Cummings summarized Johnson's attitude at the time as "this is terrible but the people dying are essentially all over 80 and we can't kill the economy just because of people dying over 80."

Asked if Cummings' recollection was correct, Johnson's spokesman flatly responded "no," and insisted that he had been "guided by the best scientific advice." Johnson has faced stinging criticism for vacillating at various stages of the health crisis, with the UK's death toll soaring to the worst in Europe before a successful vaccine rollout.

On Monday he controversially opted to go ahead with the relaxation of almost all virus restrictions in England, despite the number of cases growing steeply in recent weeks.

Cummings also claimed that at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, he had to persuade Johnson not to continue meeting Queen Elizabeth II in person every week.

"Sod this. I'm going to go and see her," he claimed the prime minister said on March 18. 

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.

AFP
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