Boris Johnson has found himself in hot water again this week over comments he claims he did not make.
Despite ITV’s Robert Peston getting verification from “at least three sources” the prime minister remained resolute as he toured North Wales, saying the important thing is that people want the government to “make sure the lockdowns work”.
Labour said the comments, if true, are “truly shocking and sickening”, sentiment which most of the public seem to be on board with.
But they are certainly not rare or unique.
Here’s a look back at all the times Boris Johnson has been “misheard” in public office:
Let the bodies pile high
Reports in the Daily Mail claim that Johnson would have rather seen “bodies piled high in their thousands” than impose another Covid lockdown in October.
The PM was begrudgingly forced to agree to a second, short, lockdown after senior ministers and Government scientists warned him at a key No 10 meeting that the NHS faced being overrun.
But the newspaper claimed his frustration bubbled over and he blasted: “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”
No 10 dismissed the claims as “just another lie”, but ITV’s Peston said at least three sources have corroberated the claims.
Let Covid rip
The PM told aides he would rather let coronavirus “rip” than impose a second lockdown, according to reports in The Times.
He was reported to have argued during a Government debate in September that lockdowns were “mad” as he raised concerns about the economic harm they cause.
Downing Street described the claims as “gross distortions” of Mr Johnson’s position, as he battled a bitter briefing war that has engulfed No 10.
F**K the families
In 2019 reports circulated that Johnson had said “f*** the families” of the 7/7 terror attacks, which took place in London in 2005.
Brian Coleman, who was chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, claims he was briefing the then mayor in London’s City Hall in 2011, when the Tory leadership hopeful made the remarks.
He said: “I was telling Boris how the Fire Authority was having to spend a sizeable sum on lawyers, as were the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and everybody else involved. ‘Boris suddenly said, “I blame Tony Blair for all this, he started it with the Marchioness.”’
That, Mr Coleman says, was a reference to inquests into the deaths of 51 partygoers after the 1989 Thames collision between the Marchioness pleasure steamer and the dredger Bowbelle.
Following the briefing, Mr Coleman said Guto Harri, the Mayor’s communications chief at the time, explained the 7/7 inquests were for the benefit of the families.
Mr Coleman added: ‘To which Boris replied, “F* the families! F* the families!”
He is alleged to have made the remarks after hearing about the costs of inquests into the attacks.
In 2018 Boris was claimed to have used an expletive when asked about business concerns about Brexit.
The then foreign secretary is reported to have used the swear word at a diplomatic gathering after Airbus, BMW and Siemens warned about the impact on their UK-based operations if the UK leaves the EU.
Asked about corporate concerns over a hard Brexit, Mr Johnson is reported to have replied: “Fuck business”.
Clear the dead bodies
In 2017 Johnson was cited for making an inappropriate remark towards a city in the Middle East.
Asked whether the Libyan city of Sirte could be the new Dubai, he said: “all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away”.
His comments at a Conservative fringe meeting sparked anger, with a number of Tory MPs calling for his sacking and Labour labelling him “crass and cruel”.
Mr Johnson claimed his critics had “no knowledge nor understanding of Libya”.
At the time a Downing Street source said it was not an “appropriate choice of words” but the PM regarded the matter as closed.
Related: ‘Not just bodies, Boris’: PM on the ropes as newspapers react to Covid comments
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