Boris Johnson refuses to retract his claim that Covid was only killing people over the age of 80.
Boris Johnson argued that his government “at every level tried to minimize loss of life,” despite his failure to refute the notion that Covid was “only murdering 80-year-olds.”
Prime Minister’s Questions was used by Sir Keir Starmer to quiz Mr Johnson over claims made against the government, mostly by his former senior aide Dominic Cummings.
Mr Johnson responded that the independent public investigation will look into the case before defending his judgments, after the Labour leader asked him to deny an accusation that he delayed implementing a second lockdown last October because “Covid was only murdering 80-year-olds.”
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, also enquired about reports that the government was considering “chickenpox parties” and “injecting the Prime Minister with Covid live on TV.”
“I don’t recognize the events he describes,” Mr Johnson responded.
Sir Keir began Prime Minister’s Questions by focusing on Mr Cummings’ testimony to MPs during a parliamentary committee.
“This morning, the Prime Minister’s former closest adviser said: ‘When the people needed us the most, the Government failed’ – does the Prime Minister agree with that?” Sir Keir said.
“Handling this pandemic has been one of the most difficult things this country has had to do in a long time, and none of the decisions have been easy,” Mr Johnson responded.
“Going into lockdown is a horrible thing for a country; dealing with a pandemic on this magnitude has been excruciatingly tough, and we have sought to minimize loss of life, preserve lives, safeguard the NHS, and follow the best scientific advice that we can at every stage.”
Sir Keir then asked if Mr Johnson acknowledged that his “inaction resulted in needless deaths,” to which Mr Johnson replied, “No, Mr Speaker, and all those matters will be reviewed in the course of the public inquiry that I have announced.”
“I notice he’s staring at the rear-view mirror, as he always does.”
Mr Johnson continued by denying that the government was “complacent” about the threat presented by Covid-19.
“Another central,” Sir Keir said. (This is a brief piece.)