Downing Street has flatly denied Dominic Cummings’ allegation that Boris Johnson wanted to visit the Queen early in the pandemic despite coronavirus having hit No 10.
The former chief aide in No 10 alleged that he had to convince the Prime Minister out of visiting her by warning of the potentially grave consequences.
But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This didn’t happen and we’ve been clear about that.”
Mr Johnson ultimately took a 15-month break from his face-to-face weekly audience with the Queen after meeting her on March 11 2020 and they instead spoke on the phone.
But Mr Cummings, who has been engaged in a war of words with Mr Johnson since leaving No 10 in November, alleged Mr Johnson wanted to visit her a week later, on March 18.
This was five days before Mr Johnson announced the first lockdown on March 23 and he went on to test positive himself for Covid-19 later that month.
In an interview, Mr Cummings told the BBC: “I said to him (Boris Johnson), there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen.
“What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus?
“You obviously can’t go.
“I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane.
“And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, holy shit, I can’t go.”
Their first in-person meeting was not until June 23 this year.
While Downing Street denied Mr Cummings’ account in that instance, it did not dispute that the messages he leaked appearing to show Mr Johnson’s thinking ahead of the second lockdown in England were genuine.
The Prime Minister wrote to aides on October 15 discussing details that he said show “we don’t go for nationwide lockdown”.
“I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on Covid fatalities.
“The median age is 82 – 81 for men 85 for women.
“That is above life expectancy.
“So get Covid and live longer.
“Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital (4%) and of those virtually all survive.
“And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff.
“Folks I think we may need to recalibrate,” they read.
“There are max 3 m in this country aged over 80.”
Mr Cummings, who has repeatedly accused the Prime Minister of being too slow to impose the November 5 lockdown, alleged the Prime Minister was reluctant to heighten restrictions because “the people who are dying are essentially all over 80”.
The hostile former chief adviser to Mr Johnson accused his one-time boss of putting “his own political interests ahead of people’s lives”.
Asked if Mr Cummings was right in alleging that, the Prime Minister’s spokesman flatly responded: “No.”