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28th Apr 2021

Boris Johnson must resign if he lied about ‘bodies piled high’ comment, says Starmer

Charlie Herbert

‘Ministers who knowingly mislead parliament will be expected to offer their resignation’

Keir Starmer has suggested that Boris Johnson should quit as Prime Minister, if Johnson’s denial over remarks he is alleged to have made last October is found to be false.

The PM is alleged to have told a meeting that he would rather see “the bodies pile high in their thousands” than impose another lockdown.

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday he was asked by Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer whether he had made the comments or not. Johnson categorically denied making the comments.

The Labour leader said: “It was reported this week, including in the Daily Mail, the BBC and ITV – backed up by numerous sources – that, at the end of October, the prime minister said he would rather have, and I quote, ‘bodies pile high’ than implement another lockdown.

“Can the prime minister tell the House categorically yes or no, did he make those remarks or remarks to that effect?”

The Prime Minister replied: “No.

“I think if he is going to repeat allegations like that he should come to this House and substantiate those allegations, and say where he heard them and who exactly is supposed to have said those things.

“Lockdowns are miserable, lockdowns are appalling things to have to do, but I have to say that I believe we had absolutely no choice.”

In response to this Starmer told the Prime Minister that “somebody here isn’t telling the truth” and reminded him that ministers that are found to have misled Parliament are “expected to offer their resignation.”

It was not the only controversy that the Prime Minister came under fire for, in a PMQs that also featured an explosive, Kevin Keegan-esque rant from him. Sir Keir also challenged him over the funding of the refurbishment to his Downing Street flat, with PMQs taking place just minutes after the Electoral Commission announced that it had launched a formal investigation into the matter.

Starmer labelled Johnson as “Major Sleaze,” adding: “Dodgy contracts, jobs for their mates and cash for access – and who is at the heart of it?”

Whilst the Tory leader said that Starmer “should know that I have paid for Downing Street refurbishment personally,” he refused to reveal who had initially provided the funding for the work.