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Let the bodies pile high

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"Let the bodies pile high", or, in full, "No more fucking lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!" is a remark alleged to have been said by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is claimed to have said it in 30 October 2020, one day before the announcement of the second national lockdown.[1] The phrase came to public attention in April 2021 when reports of the alleged remark entered the public domain through a story in the Daily Mail written by Simon Walters.[2] Walters has been a political journalist since the 1980s. According to The Guardian, Walters was regarded "as an outstanding story-getter" and that "if Walters has written a story, it would be wise to take it seriously".[3]

Sources told the BBC and Robert Peston of ITV News that the remark was made.[4][5] According to Peston, the remarks were heard by a number of people.[6] Both The Guardian and the BBC reported that the remark had been heard shouted from an office in Downing Street following the main meeting.[7] Peston has stated that two witnesses are prepared to swear under oath that the remarks were made.[8]

Johnson denies having made the remark, describing it as "total, total rubbish".[9] Michael Gove and the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also stated that the reports of the remarks were untrue.[10][11]

The reported remark was condemned by other British politicians and relatives of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.[7][12] The alleged remark also reignited calls for an independent public inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic.[13]

References[edit]

  1. Rayner, Gordon (26 April 2021). "'Let the bodies pile high': What really happened on night Boris Johnson was accused of outburst". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  2. Faulconbridge, Guy; Bruce, Andy; James, William (26 April 2021). "UK PM Johnson denies saying 'let the bodies pile high'". Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  3. Sparrow, Andrew; Morris, Steven (26 April 2021). "Why evidence suggests Johnson did say thousands of deaths would be better than third lockdown". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  4. "Covid: Boris Johnson's 'bodies pile high' comments prompt criticism". BBC News. 26 April 2021. Archived from the original on 26 April 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  5. Peston, Robert (26 April 2021). "Johnson 'did make bodies pile high in their thousands' comment, writes Peston". ITV News. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  6. Peston, Robert (26 April 2021). "The truth about Boris's 'bodies pile high in their thousands' comment". www.spectator.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 April 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Elgot, Jessica; Booth, Robert (26 April 2021). "Pressure mounts on Johnson over alleged 'let the bodies pile high' remarks". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "Boris Johnson: Witnesses willing to speak 'under oath' that PM made 'let bodies pile high' comment". ITV News. 26 April 2021. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  9. Syal, Rajeev; Elgot, Jessica; Booth, Robert (26 April 2021). "Johnson denies saying he would rather see 'bodies piled high' than third Covid lockdown". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  10. Association, Press; Rowlands, Robert (26 April 2021). "Michael Gove says he 'never heard' PM say let 'bodies pile high'". WalesOnline. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  11. Heffer, Greg. "COVID-19: Minister denies Boris Johnson made 'let the bodies pile high' comment - and calls it 'a comedy chapter in gossip stories'". Sky News. Retrieved 26 April 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. Nutt, Kathleen (26 April 2021). "SNP demand Boris Johnson's resignation over 'let the bodies pile high' remark". The National. Retrieved 26 April 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. "'Now is the time': top experts join call for PM to launch Covid inquiry". The Guardian. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.



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