'Not the nature of the man': Tory MP rejects suggestion Boris Johnson should have rested while suffering from coronavirus

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK

A Tory MP has rejected a suggestion that Boris Johnson should have been resting over the past 10 days after he went into intensive care on Monday night, saying “that’s not the nature of the man”.

The prime minister tested positive for coronavirus on 27 March and went into self-isolation in his Downing Street flat, where he continued to lead the UK’s COVID-19 response.

However, Johnson continued to suffer symptoms and was hospitalised on Sunday, before his condition worsened on Monday afternoon and he was moved to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’s Hospital in Westminster.

Speaking on BBC News, Dr Andrew Murrison, who until February was Johnson’s international development secretary, rejected the idea that the PM should have been resting and “focusing on getting match fit”.

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“That’s not the nature of the man,” Dr Murrison said.

“He’s a selfless individual with a very strong sense of public service. It would not be in his nature to step back.”

Read more: Messages of support for Boris Johnson flood in after he is moved to intensive care

The South West Wiltshire MP, who two weeks ago spoke to Yahoo News UK over concerns about protective equipment for care workers, added: “Boris has been working heroically over the past several days, despite his deteriorating condition.

“He is an extraordinary man and I’m very sure he’s going to pull through this.”

Dr Andrew Murrison (Parliamentlive.tv)

Later on Monday night, Dominic Raab, who will be deputising for Johnson, confirmed it was over the course of Monday afternoon that the PM’s conditioned deteriorated.

He said: “Since Sunday the prime minister has been under the medical care of the team at St Thomas’s hospital after he was admitted with persistent coronavirus symptoms.

Boris Johnson continued working after testing positive for COVID-19. (PA)

“During the course of this afternoon, the prime minister’s condition worsened and, on the advice of the medical team, he’s moved to a critical care unit.

“So in light of those circumstances, the prime minister asked me as first secretary to deputise for him where necessary in driving forward the government’s plans to defeat coronavirus.

“And, as you’ll know, he’s been receiving excellent care at St Thomas’s hospital, and we’d like to take this opportunity as a government to thank NHS staff up and down the country for all of their dedication, hard work and commitment in treating everyone who’s been affected by this awful virus.”