BORIS Johnson allegedly blamed high rates of Covid-19 in Wales on “singing and obesity”.

The apparent comments were included in the diary of Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s former chief scientific adviser.

They were dated September 2020.

Sir Patrick wrote: “Wales very high – PM says ‘It is the singing and the obesity… I never said that’.”

The full context of the alleged comments is unclear.

Mr Johnson was presented with the diary extract by Pete Weatherby KC, who represents Covid Bereaved Families for Justice, at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry on Thursday, but he was not asked about the entry.


Parts of Wales in September 2020 were among the areas of the UK hardest hit by the virus.

The message was one of many the PM was presented with as he faced two days of questions at the inquiry into Covid-19.

The probe was shown WhatsApp messages between Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, Mr Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings and former Downing Street director of communications Lee Cain from August 2020. In it they were discussing the u-turn on advice on facemasks in schools.

Mr Case said the former prime minister had been advised to “create permissive guidance around masks” weeks earlier “because we could foresee it was going to be a drama in Sept”.

The exchange claims then education secretary Gavin Williamson was in “no surrender mode” and “didn’t want to give an inch to the unions, so said we should hold firm. PM gave him full support in this approach.”

The messages go on to say: “At every turn, PM backs bulls**t “no surrender” ideas from Hancock/Williamson/Shapps then totally regrets it later.”

Mr Case also referred to scientists as “slow and too purist”, adding that Number 10 was finding it “impossible to hold debatable positions” due to a “massive trust deficit” with the Government.

Mr Johnson was also asked if he thought his use of “florid” language, including that which suggested old people had had a “good innings”, or were “going to die anyway” was appropriate for someone in his position.

The former prime minister justified the language, which has been reported at the UK’s Covid-19 inquiry, by saying he used words that he felt would make other people in the room comfortable.