Ed and Tim angry at “callous” statement by PM

Both Ed Davey and Tim Farron have been quick to show their anger about the reported “Let the bodies pile high” remark by PM Johnson:

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  • Helen Dudden 27th Apr '21 - 11:39am

    This is so sad, where is the respect as human beings, we should be giving is this difficult times.

  • John Marriott 27th Apr '21 - 11:43am

    But, did he actually say that? Is there a recording somewhere? Perhaps Cummings has a copy. Until you can prove it, I would leave this particular bandwagon well alone.

  • nigel hunter 27th Apr '21 - 12:22pm

    He has history on this. In 2017 he joked about clearing the bodies off the street in Libya. Odious personality.What you see and hear about him is correct. The Libya event is on socialmedia.

  • Malcolm Todd 27th Apr '21 - 12:31pm

    Quite right, John Marriott. It’s a bit weird – indeed, almost offensive – for Lib Dems (of all people) to start treating Dominic Cummings (of all people) as some sort of reliable source.

  • John Marriott 27th Apr ’21 – 11:43am…………..But, did he actually say that? Is there a recording somewhere? Perhaps Cummings has a copy. Until you can prove it, I would leave this particular bandwagon well alone…………

    It doesn’t really matter whether, or not, he said it…That the Mail, BBC and ITV all believe that he did say, or was capable of saying, it that is the damaging bit..
    He has got away, so far, with the big lies but, as is often the case, it’s the little pebble that starts the avalanche…

    Those wheeled out to quash the story were either not there or ‘didn’t hear him say it at the meeting”…caveats all round

  • Simon Horner 27th Apr '21 - 1:06pm

    Given the extremely offensive nature of the alleged comments, any person wrongly accused of having made them is clearly being defamed. As Mr Johnson insists he did not make the comments, his obvious course now is to sue the Mail as the original “offender” and any other media outlet or individual that has repeated the “libel”. To win the case, the defendants would have to convince the court that the statements they published were true.

    It will be interesting to see if the Prime Minister chooses this legal route. Huge damages would likely be awarded – more than enough to cover something like a flat refurbishment, for example.

    It is odd that, despite the firm denial and the extensive media coverage, no-one appears to be talking about the possibility of a libel action.

  • Barry Lofty 27th Apr '21 - 1:52pm

    Robert Peston is convinced that those words were spoken by our Prime Minister, although it is hard to believe???

  • @Malcolm Todd

    My understanding is that this comes from three separate people – so if Cummings was one of them – he is only a third of the sources and is collaborated by two others.

    The original Mail source and two different people confirmed that they heard Johnson say it to the BBC’s Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg (and two to ITV’s Political Editor – Robert Peston). It has to be said that Kuenssberg is normally incredibly well sourced journalist – not least because the BBC know if they mess up they have the Tories (and indeed other political parties) down on them like a ton of bricks.

    It has to be said that it fits with what we know happened at the time with the Government very, very reluctant to go into another lockdown – probably a decision, although it is harsh to say sadly it cost some 60,000 lives to covid – total deaths at the beginning of November 47,958 – today 127,429 – some 80,000 more – while of course we would have had some more deaths from it – and we have suffered economically more than virtually any other developed nation.

    Laura Kuenssberg did a documentary on how the decisions were taken on covid – talking to 20 ministers, senior politicians, civil servants – all except Matt Hancock and Keir Starmer off the record. Following that she says: “This does take us back to that moment and back to the very serious claims made by some people who were involved in the decision making – including some ministers – that the hesitancy around the second lockdown did cost lives


  • Furthermore the Guardian live politics blog is reporting “No 10 refuses to deny Johnson argued for ‘let it rip’ approach to Covid before agreeing to second lockdown.”

    This was a very serious error of judgement on Johnson’s part – costing tens of thousands of lives and a lot of damage to our economy (as ultimately the lockdown was longer than it would have needed to be if it had come earlier).


  • John Marriott 27th Apr '21 - 2:26pm

    So many words, so many sources, so many theories. If he said it, that would be par for the course as far as Johnson is concerned. If he did not, then it’s humble pie time. Either way, there are quite a few folks out there, who really couldn’t give a damn. And these people have a vote!
    @Malcolm Todd
    Cummings a reliable source? Well, any port in a storm, hey?

  • Barry Lofty 27th Apr '21 - 2:56pm

    I know I am being vindictive but no matter what other politicians from all party’s have done in the past this present incumbent deserves all the bad publicity he gets , in my honest opinion, in the end mud will stick now or in the near future.

  • @John Marriott


    Well – I can’t win!!!!

    I was answering @Malcolm Todd who said it came from one “unreliable” source in the form of Cummings

    I don’t know whether people care or not. I think probably actually many people do. Very very sadly and it may be harsh to say it Johnson’s lack of judgement caused the deaths of some 60,000 people – loved ones who would be with us today but for him.

    So I won’t presume to speak for the whole nation – but personally I do care whether our leaders took the right decision.

    And I have had a close relative very recently contract covid and they are not in the best of health – so yes it’s personal for me as they probably wouldn’t have got it if Johnson had acted differently. And yes it’s personal for a lot of people in this country who have seen the demise of their relatives or had brushes or near brushes with covid or have had months of debilitating “long covid”. Children who have been orphaned. If we don’t care as a nation then we should….

    If Johnson thinks that he acted correctly then fine – he should today set up a public inquiry as the relatives of victims of covid want and presumably it will say this. We know from what happened that Johnson refused to order a lockdown for many, many weeks – despite his scientists and his health secretary saying he should – which is more important to me than his outburst but it just confirms and highlights what was happening.

    And perhaps more importantly he was blind to studying the maths, science and evidence – not something we want in a PM!

    And remember it is not me or the opposition parties saying his delay in ordering a lockdown cost lives but his own ministers.

  • David Evans 27th Apr '21 - 3:21pm

    Lib Dem Headline: Lib Dems speak out against something nasty the Prime Minister may have said.

    Well that’s really going to get us noticed!

  • Little Jackie Paper 27th Apr '21 - 4:04pm

    I’m starting to get a sense that some people think an allegation of ‘sleaze’ or about what may have been said is a substitute for an election platform.

    Outside of sugar rush social media it really isn’t.

  • @Little Jackie Paper

    Fair point but this the Conservatives scrapping amongst themselves and snipping at each other.

    Commenting on this Tory fracas and having policy manifestos are not mutually exclusive and indeed LDV has been highlighting our policies for the Welsh, Scottish and local elections.

    @David Evans

    I appreciate the point you make but the poor Lib Dem press office is damned if they do and damned if they don’t by commentators on LDV.

    It does seem to me at least that Ed and the Lib Dems have been getting more coverage in the past few weeks including on this – of course the TV and Radio – particularly the BBC give parties other than Labour and Tories more coverage during local elections but equally you do have to still say something newsworthy – and frankly while it not be surprising – the opposition parties commenting on the top controversy of the day – is – may be wrongly – but we don’t run the media – newsworthy.

  • John Marriott 27th Apr '21 - 7:18pm

    Of course you can’t win. You’re a Lib Dem!😀😀

  • @John Marriott

    LOL 🙂 🙂 !!!!!!

    Oh well 🙁 🙁 !!!!!!!!!!!!! …….

    I’ll have fun trying 🙂 🙂 !!!!!!!!!! ……..

  • As far as I understand it, the alleged words were spoken as part of a private conversation at a time of high emotion.
    Why is it in the news? Why are we debating it?

  • Johnson is one of those guys who seems to get away with things that would seriously hurt most politicians. He has many faults, but remains a very popular PM. In every day life I hear people say he’s done well with Brexit and with the covid vaccinations. I have not heard one person who cares about £50,000 on doing up his flat or any stupid comments he may or not have made. As he proved in London and the GE, people just seem to like him – at least enough to get him comfortably elected

  • George Thomas 27th Apr '21 - 10:28pm

    1. Cameron’s lobbying scandal
    2. Boris and Dyson’s text
    3. Boris phones around to pin blame on Cummings
    4. Edward Lister leaves office due to massive conflict of interest
    5. No 10 text to sack Johnny Mercer
    6. Cummings blogs to pin blame on Boris and Carrie
    7. Mercer describes government as “cesspit full of snakes and cowards”
    8. Rumoured comment about “piles of bodies”
    9. Boris wants to intervene to support Tory backer buy Newcastle FC
    10. Non denials of flat refurb being initially paid for by Tory backer waiting for their reward

    Have I missed anything? All that in a week and polls still showing Tories on 40% in the polls. What is going on?!

  • Context is everything, unfortunately for this particular comment very little real context has been put into the public domain.
    However, I think that people find it believable that Boris may have said this suggests they are waking up to a very simple fact: they believe Boris (and others in the Conservative party) are disconnected from everyday reality as experienced by the vast majority of the population. Which if you’ve read Musa Okwonga’s recent pieces in the Guardian about Eton, reinforces what he says: Eton is no long (if it ever did) producing men fit to be leaders.

  • John Marriott 28th Apr '21 - 8:55am

    Has this thread really gone to sleep? Is it time to open the door and to toss another grenade into the room? Well, here’s a banger at least.

    I’ve been thinking of how, throughout his political career, Johnson has made a point of enlisting the service of ‘useful idiots’ to do the heavy lifting only to discard them when they were no longer required. Well, in Mr Cummings, he would appear to have picked an ‘idiot savant’, whom he has clearly underestimated and who might well know, if ammunition is required, where some of the bodies are buried. I look forward to Dom’s appearance before the Select Committee next month. Given the potentially incendiary information he might be in a position to reveal, one wonders whether he ought to be making arrangements to become a ‘non Dom’. I’m sure that there are a few countries that might offer him sanctuary, one of whom he worked in during his early career.

  • In the every day life I live in there are many who dislike Boris Johnson and when the …. hits the fan, as it surely will at some time, I want to be around to witness it. I thought I could never dislike a PM as much as Margaret Thatcher but Boris Johnson has proved me wrong.

  • Is there any real evidence to support his alleged “Bodies” statement and what is actually wrong in his grace and favour flat located over the shop for close proximity to his duties, being decorated and furnished by the tax payer? It goes with the job, bit like the White House.
    The PMs problem may be much greater than this, is it people he has upset in the past all ganging up on him or does there come a time and a moment, however early in the role, when he becomes a liability rather than an asset.
    Mind you decent Tory results next week and all will be forgiven?

  • John Marriott 28th Apr '21 - 12:43pm

    @Barry Lofty
    You know, I think I might just agree with you. Lady T was like that famous varnish. It claims to do exactly what it says on the tin! Johnson is more like an iceberg in that there is more of him below the surface that we don’t see.

    However, both of their careers have similarities. It was largely the ‘Winter of Discontent’ that gave Lady T the keys of No 10 and, in 1983, a well won war, which could have been avoided, and a shambolic, divided opposition with the prospect of a left wing Labour government under Michael Foot (not forgetting a voting system that failed to reflect the relative support between the parties) that gave her the majority she needed.

    For Johnson, a Marmite figure like Lady T, his climb to the top of the greasy pole was largely due to Brexit and the inability of Mrs May to get a deal through Parliament leading to her resignation, and a shambolic, divided opposition with the prospect of a left wing Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn. Who says that history doesn’t repeat itself? The only consolation in a bizarre way is that, as Enoch Powell famously opined, all political careers end in failure. The big problem is the amount of damage that can be done in the meantime.

  • Quite so John, you have summed it up better than myself , thanks.

  • A brief addition to John’s comment. The fickle duplicitous nature of Tory politics is revealed by Gove. On the eve of Johnson’s leadership campaign after Brexit he stunned Westminster by saying Johnson was unfit to lead. Now he is a loyal supporter ……. for as long as it suits him. Never trust the smile of an alligator.

  • David Evans 1st May '21 - 3:16pm

    Michael 1 – I note your comment that “the opposition parties commenting on the top controversy of the day – is – may be wrongly – but we don’t run the media – newsworthy.” and it may be true that it may be newsworthy if one particular opposition party (i.e. Labour) comments (and maybe even the SNP), but it isn’t newsworthy if the Lib Dems do it.

    It just won’t get us noticed – and it didn’t.

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