Boris Johnson denies he wanted to see the Queen before first lockdown

Boris Johnson has denied a claim from his former advisor Dominic Cummings that he had to be persuaded not to go and see the Queen before the first coronavirus lockdown. 

Cummings, who has been in a war of words with Johnson and Number 10 since leaving his job in November, claimed he had to stop Johnson attending his weekly meeting with the Queen in person in March 2020, warning him he could kill the monarch.

He told the BBC Johnson tried to leave the Westminster office on 18 March to go to Buckingham Palace.

Cummings said: "I said, what are you doing? And he said, I’m going to see the Queen and I said, what on earth are you talking about, of course you can’t go and see the Queen.

"He said, ah, that’s what I do every Wednesday, sod this, I’m gonna go and see her."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Queen Elizabeth II greets Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the first in-person weekly audience with the Prime Minister since the start of the coronavirus pandemic at Buckingham Palace on June 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the first in-person weekly audience with the Prime Minister since the start of the coronavirus pandemic at Buckingham Palace on 23 June. (Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

He added: "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 s***, I can’t go."

Five days later, Johnson announced the first UK lockdown, and later tested positive for coronavirus. 

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Buckingham Palace has not commented, and Number 10 has denied that such a conversation took place.

Johnson and the Queen did switch their meetings to phone calls from 18 March, and spent 15 months speaking via phone instead of in person.

They met in person on 23 June, with the Queen referring to then health secretary Matt Hancock as a "poor man", shortly before he left his role, admitting he had breached social distancing and had an affair with his advisor, Gina Coladangelo. 

The Queen, now 95, spent most of the lockdown in Windsor, leaving London shortly before the announcement of the first restrictions. However she was spotted in Sandringham over the weekend, and could possibly travel to Scotland for her traditional break in Balmoral.

ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wife Carrie Johnson, Queen Elizabeth II and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat at a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)   chat at a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosts leaders from the USA, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada at the G7 Summit. This year the UK has invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries as well as the EU. (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Boris Johnson, Carrie Johnson, with the Queen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a drinks reception at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit. (Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

After the Cummings clip was released, Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice founder Matt Fowler said Johnson was a man who "puts himself before others".

He said: "This is a man who never wanted to take action to protect the British people.

"A man who could have given the Queen Covid if someone hadn't talked sense into him." 

However questions have been raised about Cummings and his credibility, with Camilla Tominey, the associate editor of the Daily Telegraph, telling This Morning that people doubted him since the press conference in the Rose Garden at Downing St.

She said he appeared "vindictive" in continuing to drop bombshells about the handling of the pandemic in the government. 

Former Scottish Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson told Good Morning Britain there would be longer term damage to the government but said: "Dominic Cummings is utterly discredited in the country and he was discredited before he started doing the scorned wife routine, which is cutting the left arm off the suits of the prime minister who rejected him, which is basically what he is doing now.

"People out there have much less trust in Dominic Cummings that they do in the prime minister."

Dominic Cummings: The Interview will air on BBC Two at 7pm on Tuesday.