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Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak thought it was 'okay' to let people die from Covid, inquiry hears

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak thought it was 'okay' to let people die from coronavirus during the pandemic, the official Covid-19 inquiry has heard.

The then prime minister Mr Johnson wanted to let the virus “rip” instead of tightening lockdown measures, the inquiry heard on Monday (November 20).

In further revelations from Sir Patrick Vallance’s pandemic diaries, the inquiry heard of the “shambolic” day on October 25 2020, when the country was heading towards a second national lockdown. Sir Patrick, who was the government's chief scientific adviser during the pandemic, said Mr Johnson wanted to let the virus spread and didn't mind that people would die.

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The scientist also wrote in his diaries that Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson's most senior adviser, suggested that Mr Sunak, who was the chancellor at the time, also thought that letting people die was “okay”.

In an extract shown to the inquiry Sir Patrick wrote in his diary: “PM meeting – begins to argue for letting it all rip. Saying yes there will be more casualties but so be it – ‘they have had a good innings’. Not persuaded by (Jon) Edmunds, (Neil) Ferguson, (Jeremy) Farrar. PM says ‘the population just has to behave doesn’t it’."

Sir Patrick noted that the then PM was "getting very frustrated" and "throwing papers down" during the meeting. He wrote that the Mr Johnson argued "most people who die have reached their time anyway".

The scientist said Mr Cummings put forward the argument that "we need to save lives" and that it was "not democratically possible to follow another route". He added: "DC