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Boris Johnson had 'almighty row' with Sajid Javid over free Covid testing as ex-PM declared himself 'bored' of virus
1 June 2023, 06:19 | Updated: 1 June 2023, 09:13
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Boris Johnson had an "almighty row" with the former Health Secretary Sajid Javid over free Covid testing, by which point the ex-PM had become "epileptically bored with Covid".
The revelation comes in Guto Harri's exclusive Global podcast Unprecedented, in which Mr Johnson's former director of communications claims the then health secretary felt he was being asked to "disarm when the enemy is still lurking out there".
But at this point, Mr Harri says, testing was costing the government £2 billion a month, with Mr Johnson declaring: "What people are getting now is not killing them,"
According to Mr Harri, the ex-PM continued: "It's a matter of stupendous irrelevance, as long as we have a good pair of eyes in the crow's nest, so we will not miss another iceberg."
According to Mr Harri, the impact of dealing with Covid on the rest of the NHS caused "a lot of tension" within government last year.
In particular, Mr Johnson became frustrated with Mr Javid, telling him "you're in charge of a third of government spending” in a "testy" cabinet meeting.
Mr Johnson told Mr Javid that he can't fix the NHS by "water cannoning money at it", Mr Harri claims.
Eventually, Mr Javid resigned from his post as health secretary on the NHS' birthday.
Hours after wishing the health service a happy birthday, Mr Javid published his resignation letter, declaring that he had lost confidence in Mr Johnson.
Last week, Mr Harri revealed that his boss Mr Johnson was so ill with Covid that he 'could not walk up the stairs to the flat' in Downing Street and was rushed to hospital in a wheelchair.
Mr Johnson slowly became "groggier and groggier" before the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty urged him to get tested in March 2020, Mr Harri said on his podcast.
After he tested positive, Mr Harri said, his wife Carrie - who was pregnant at the time - "had to immediately move out with their son Wilf".
"He got to the point where he literally could not walk up the stairs to the flat in No. 11. So he moved into what was until then a sort of suite of offices for the Chancellor in No.10 on the ground floor," Mr Harri said.
"And he was handed his food and papers and stuff through that door and communicated essentially online with staff and with the British people."