Boris Johnson wanted to let Covid “rip off” despite the fact that people would die, while Rishi Sunak also thought it was “okay”, the public inquiry heard.
In further revelations from Sir Patrick Vallance's pandemic diaries, the inquest heard of the “symbolic” day on October 25, 2020, when the country was heading for a second national lockdown.
The diary entry highlights how the former prime minister wanted to let the virus spread, while his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings (DC), suggested Mr Sunak, then chancellor, also thought it was “okay” to just let people to die.
The quote read: “PM meeting – starts arguing to let it all rip. By saying yes, there will be more victims, but so be it – “they had a good hit”.
“I'm not convinced by (Jon) Edmunds, (Neil) Ferguson, (Jeremy) Farrar. The Prime Minister says “the population just has to behave, doesn't it.”
“I have the necrotic heatmaps are so depressing.
“DC says the orbit will leave us in November – exactly where we were in the 1st week of April.
“Chris is quite looking forward to being able to stop more in April…
“He's going on about the Gulf War Syndrome again… The Prime Minister is getting very frustrated – he's throwing papers down.
“PM then reverts to ‘most people who die are on time anyway.'
“DC argues that we must save lives – it is not democratically possible to go any other way…
“DC has again (correctly) argued that a lockdown is coming so do it sooner rather than later.
“The Prime Minister concludes: ‘We seem to be in a very difficult position, a complete disaster.'
“I really don't want to do another national lockdown.”
“The Prime Minister said that if he wants to go down this path of withdrawal, ‘you have to tell people – you have to tell them that you are going to allow people to die'…
“Conclusion – strengthen ranks – consider a national lockdown – decide until when.
“DC says ‘Rishi just thinks let people die and that's fine.'
“This all looks like a complete lack of leadership.”
Asked about the diary entry, Sir Patrick told the inquest it was recording what must have been a “very bad day”.
However, the following day's entry shows Johnson took a different view and described the death toll from Covid as “terrible”.
The inquiry also heard that Sir Patrick wrote that “we have a weak indecisive prime minister” and described the right-wing press as “culpable” in decision-making over Covid measures.