LONDON — Well, this’ll make for an awkward Friday news meeting.
Boris Johnson — the former U.K. prime minister — launched into a four-letter tirade against Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper over its coverage of coronavirus rules, the country’s official pandemic inquiry heard Thursday.
It’s an awkward one for Johnson, whose current employer is … the Daily Mail. The paper snapped him up for a handsome sum earlier this year as its star columnist.
Diary extracts from Britain’s then-Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, dated September 2020, describe Johnson raging about the way his coronavirus “rule of six” restrictions — designed to limit the size of social gatherings without opting for more stringent lockdown measures — landed with the right-wing, middle-market paper.
Vallance quotes Johnson as lamenting: “everyone says rule of 6 so unfair, punishing the young, but FUCK YOU Daily Mail – look this is all about stopping deaths. We need to tell them.” In Vallance’s notes, the “FUCK YOU Daily Mail” is bolded and underlined.
Pressed on the remarks Thursday, Johnson didn’t deny them and heaped praise on his new bosses.
He told the inquiry: “I am sorry to have said this about the Daily Mail … I don’t think that was meant to be a general criticism of that great organization [they must have] said something that had wound me up about the rule of six or whatever.”