Home Secretary: PM needs ‘time and space’ to recuperate

Boris Johnson still needs time to rest and recuperate following his stint in intensive care with coronavirus, the Home Secretary said.

Priti Patel said it was “vital” that the Prime Minister returned to full health, but added that he required time and space to recover.

Mr Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London almost a week ago, before being moved into intensive care on Monday as his condition worsened.

He was transferred back to a ward on Thursday, and Number 10 has since confirmed he is able to take short walks as he begins his recovery.

Speaking at a daily press briefing at Downing Street on Saturday, Ms Patel said: “The message to the Prime Minister is, we want him to get better and he needs time and space to rest, recuperate and recover.

“It is vital that our Prime Minister gets well.”

Priti Patel
Priti Patel

A Downing Street source confirmed to the PA news agency that Mr Johnson’s fiance Carrie Symonds had sent him letters and baby scans of their unborn child to lift his spirits while he was in intensive care.

The couple have not seen each other since he was admitted to hospital almost a week ago, according to a report in The Sun newspaper.

Environmental campaigner Ms Symonds, who is due to give birth in two months, has also been ill with coronavirus-like symptoms in recent weeks, but has not been tested.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said on Saturday that Mr Johnson “continues to make very good progress” in his recovery.

During his time in intensive care, the Conservative Party leader watched films to keep himself entertained.

A Downing Street source said British comedy classic Withnail & I were among the movies the PM re-visited, while also watching Love Actually for the first time.

During the December election, Mr Johnson parodied a scene from the Richard Curtis film in which he scrawled campaign messaging on white placards while standing in a doorway, mirroring the actions of Andrew Lincoln’s character in the movie.

Other Hollywood pictures loaded on to an iPad for the PM by No 10 staff included Groundhog Day, Home Alone and Lord Of The Rings.

Coronavirus PM
Coronavirus PM

Sudoku is also keeping him busy and there are said to be thousands of get well cards boxed up and ready for him to read.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is currently in charge of running the Government, with aides reportedly expecting Mr Johnson to be out for as long as a month.

Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, has called for his son to “take time” to get better.

Speaking on Friday, the former MEP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He must rest up. I don’t think you can say this is out of the woods now.

“He has to take time. I cannot believe you can walk away from this and get straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment.”