A woman painting red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall
He said: “In October 2020, while the Department of Health & Social Care was publishing guidance on long Covid and called for recognition and support for people with long Covid, then prime minister Boris Johnson scrawled in capitals that long Covid was ‘b*******s’.”
Commenting on Johnson’s witness statement, Metzer added: “Mr Johnson has admitted in his witness statement that he didn’t believe long Covid truly existed, dismissing it as ‘Gulf War Syndrome stuff’.
“The inquiry will be concerned to probe how the former prime minister could possibly hold this view in October 2020.
“It is perhaps noticeable that the former Prime Minister now accepts that long Covid is a serious health condition, but does not say when he changed his mind.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the Kent Oncology Centre at Maidstone Hospital in Kent
“Adults and children were and still are suffering from debilitating, painful and terrifying symptoms for months and now years after infection, and yet Mr Johnson denied the truth of their suffering.
“The UK’s senior most decision-makers were dismissing, diminishing and disbelieving the very existence and risk of long Covid.”
Issues surrounding the recovery of Johnson’s earlier WhatsApp messages adds further fuel to a row from the summer about the Cabinet Office attempting to block the inquiry from accessing the material.
A spokesman for Johnson subsequently said that experts had recovered “all relevant messages”.