POLITICS
26/05/2021 12:44 BST

Boris Johnson Does Not Deny Saying Covid Was 'Only Killing 80-Year-Olds'

Keir Starmer tells the prime minister "over 83,000 people over 80 lost their lives".

DAN KITWOOD via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has not denied he said “Covid is only killing 80-year-olds” when arguing against imposing a second lockdown in the autumn of 2020.

According to ITV, Dominic Cummings is set to use his appearance at a Commons committee on Wednesday to claim the prime minister made the comment.

Speaking during PMQs, Keir Starmer asked Johnson if the allegation was true.

“Can I remind the prime minister that over 83,000 people over 80 lost their lives to this virus,” he said.

“Does the prime minister accept that he used the words ‘Covid was only killing 80-year-olds’, or words to those effect?”

But in his reply, Johnson did not answer the question. Instead he said only: “I am absolutely confident that we took the decisions in the best interests of the British people.”

In his evidence to MPs, Cummings, who was Johnson’s top adviser when the Covid pandemic hit, made a series of explosive allegations.

He said ministers, officials and advisers had fallen “disastrously short” of the standards the public should expect in a crisis.

Cummings suggested Johnson did not chair early meetings of Cobra because he did not consider the virus to be serious.

He said the prime minister thought the issue was like “swine flu” and did not need to cause concern.

And he said that Johnson had considered being injected with coronavirus by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty to prove it was not that serious.

Cummings also said Matt Hancock, the health secretary, should have been fired for having repeatedly “lied”.