Boris Johnson said Covid was “only killing 80-year-olds” as he dismissed pleas for a second lockdown according to bombshell new claims.
The Prime Minister is set to face the shocking new allegations as Dominic Cummings gives explosive testimony on the Government’s handling of the pandemic to MPs from 9.30am on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, it comes as sources told the Mirror he DID give the controversial European Super League plans the nod.
They claimed the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Dan Rosenfield told him about the proposal after a No 10 meeting with Manchester United chair Ed Woodward.
The Government insider said: “Boris doesn’t know much about football so he said it was a great idea. So Dan told the clubs No 10 wouldn’t stand in their way. Then it all kicked off…”
Former No 10 aide Mr Cummings is expected to focus his attention on why the PM dragged his feet on a second lockdown which could have saved thousands of lives.
Mr Cummings will claim the PM insisted he would not repeat what he saw as his mistake during the first lockdown when he was pressurised over the possible collapse of the NHS.
According to ITV, Mr Johnson added: “I’m going to be the Mayor of Jaws, like I should have been in March.”
He has previously said his political hero is the film’s reckless Mayor who kept beaches open so families continued to swim in shark-infested waters.
A second Government source confirmed to the Mirror that Mr Johnson had dismissed the disease as “only” killing 80-year-olds last autumn.
They claimed he added: “If I was 80 I wouldn’t care, I’d be more worried about the economy”.
No 10 aides were said to be concerned that the PM’s hatred of lockdowns would lead to him being regarded as a “Grandma killer” by the public.
It comes after Mr Johnson was last month forced to deny claims by multiple sources that he said he would rather “see bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a third coronavirus lockdown.
The explosive comments allegedly came after he reluctantly accepted a second lockdown last autumn as Britain faced a further deadly wave of the disease.
Downing Street did not deny Mr Johnson made the remarks – but insisted the Government had been focused throughout on saving lives.
A No 10 spokesman said: “There is a huge task for this Government to get on with.
“We are entirely focused on recovering from the pandemic, moving through the roadmap and distributing vaccines while delivering on the public’s priorities.
“Throughout this pandemic, the Government’s priority has been to save lives, protect the NHS and support people’s jobs and livelihoods across the United Kingdom.”
Mr Johnson will face the toughest questions yet on his handling of the pandemic as a result of Mr Cummings’ long-awaited showdown with the Commons science and health committees.
For weeks he has been engaged in a bitter tit-for-tat with his former closest adviser over leaked text messages and key decisions he made as Britain was hit by the deadly virus.
Mr Cummings will criticise the PM for repeatedly delaying lockdowns and accuse the Government of initially pursuing a policy of herd immunity.
He is expected to single out Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock claiming that by failing to get a grip on the crisis they cost thousands of lives.
While Mr Cummings’ attacks so far have focused on the beginning of the pandemic, Government insiders are concerned that Mr Johnson is more vulnerable over his decision to delay the second lockdown in the autumn.
He stands accused of ignoring the scientific advice and Opposition calls for another lockdown which could have helped prevent the deadly second wave of the virus.
But Tory insiders have slammed Mr Cummings for pursuing a ‘personal vendetta’ against the PM as their relationship slowly broke down after the Mirror revealed Mr Cummings’ lockdown breaking trip to County Durham last Spring.
A Government source told The Times today he was trying to “rewrite history” and was a “rank hypocrite” because he played an integral role in planning for the pandemic.
They added: “It’s revisionism. He’s going round saying if only competent people were in charge. This was a guy with unrivalled authority.
“You can either be an all-powerful special adviser or a busted flush with no powers and influence. You can’t be both.”
In a series of tweets, Mr Cummings has described the Government’s emergency planning for pandemics as “part disaster, part non-existent”.
He claimed that advisers “screamed” at the PM in March last year that his Covid strategy could “kill at least 250,000 and destroy the NHS” but there was no plan for a lockdown.
Tory MPs are hoping that the successful vaccine roll-out and an economic bounce as the country emerges from lockdown will help Mr Johnson weather this latest storm.
The Government has agreed to an official public inquiry into its handling of the pandemic – but this could conclude after the next election.
Boris Johnson thought the European Super League was a ‘great idea’, sources claim
Boris Johnson did give the controversial European Super League plans the nod, sources have told the Mirror.
One claimed the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Dan Rosenfield told him about the proposal after a No 10 meeting with Manchester United chair Ed Woodward.
The Government insider claimed: “Boris doesn’t know much about football so he said it was a great idea.
“So Dan told the clubs No10 wouldn’t stand in their way. Then it all kicked off…”
Downing Street has repeatedly denied that the plan was discussed at the high-level meeting just days before the ESL move was announced.
They have insisted that Mr Johnson, who briefly met Mr Woodward after the meeting, first learned of the plan when it was confirmed by the clubs.
But a second source, close to the football clubs, also claimed the PM appeared to have given Mr Rosenfield the impression he was happy for the scheme to go ahead.
They said: “Ed came back to the clubs to say they had got the green light from No 10.
“Dan would not have freelanced all the way through without checking Boris’s view.”
The plan for the so-called ‘big six’ English clubs to join a Super League with clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus dramatically unravelled just 48 hours after it was confirmed.
As the scale of football fans’ fury became clear, Government ministers – including Mr Johnson – roundly condemned the move.
But questions over how much the PM knew – and when – have continued to trouble the footballing and political worlds.
It comes amid claims that the PM’s chief of staff is planning to leave No 10 following the chaos over the fiasco.
Government sources suggested that the former banker had been in talks with US investment giant Blackrock.
A No 10 spokesman said: “This is completely untrue. The PM’s chief of staff is serving the PM and there’s no change to that.”
However, sources claimed that Mr Rosenfield had felt “unhappy and undermined” ever since he joined the Downing Street operation in December.
They allege that Mr Johnson told him he could appoint his own deputy, then gave the job to Baroness Simone Finn, a close friend of his fiancee Carrie Symonds.
They claimed that when he was tasked by the PM to shake up the No 10 policy unit, run by long-standing Johnson aide Munira Mirza, Mr Johnson then denied he had made the request.
All No10’s denials over the Super League
FRIDAY, 23 APRIL: Asked about Ed Woodward’s visit to Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The Super League was not discussed and the PM was not in the meeting. They discussed pilots that are ongoing with regard to the safe return of fans. As you know we are taking forward that work at the moment with a view to try to facilitate large sporting events and events with large audiences in the future.” Asked when Mr Johnson first learned of the Super League plan, the spokesman said: “On Sunday, as everybody else did.”
MONDAY, 26 APRIL: Asked again about the meeting, the PM’s spokesman said: “There was a very brief introduction to Ed Woodward, I think they crossed paths. But the European Super League was not discussed.” Pressed on whether Mr Woodward had spoken to Dan Rosenfield about the Super League project, the spokesman added: “No, that’s not correct. The meeting was to discuss the safe return of fans and Covid certification as part of the events pilot work.”
WEDNESDAY, 28 APRIL: Mr Johnson was asked when he and Mr Rosenfield first heard about the Super League plan. He replied: “I first was made aware of the plan for a European super league on, I think, the Sunday night, and we acted decisively using the arsenal of legislative freedoms that we now have thanks to leaving the European Union…We acted decisively to make clear that the UK Government took a dim view of this matter. And the same goes for my chief of staff.”