In a recent closed-door meeting on the Communist pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed satisfaction with the current progress of mass vaccination in the UK and made the shocking comment that it was due to the “greed” of multinational capital. He then realized that he had made a slip of the tongue and immediately asked the participants to forget the remark.
According to the Sun, Johnson spoke at a closed-door meeting on the evening of March 23 local Time, saying he was satisfied that the UK’s mass vaccination program was being implemented smoothly and that overall vaccination was progressing faster than in other large countries. Johnson also praised AstraZeneca for providing the AZ vaccine to the UK at cost.
But then, he said offhandedly, “Friends, the reason our vaccination program is working is because of capitalism and the greed of our friends.”
As soon as the words left Johnson’s mouth, he immediately realized that he had lost his tongue. He quickly said that he actually regretted saying that. He told the lawmakers present at the meeting, “Forget what I just said.”
The report quoted a participant’s comment that “I have never seen a person retract his remarks in such a hasty manner.”
The story was published and drew widespread attention from the public opinion community. A number of major media outlets in Europe and the U.S. then followed up on the story, confirming through interviews with other members of the meeting with Johnson that he did indeed slip up at that closed-door meeting.
Previously, the European Union was so upset that it had warned to ban the export of AstraZeneca vaccine (AZ vaccine) produced in Europe to the UK because the UK was far outpacing European countries in vaccination. A media report on Johnson’s gaffe brought up this vaccine strife between the UK and the EU again, saying that Johnson’s controversial remarks could further anger the EU.
Downing Street refused to comment on Johnson’s controversial remarks, but British Home Secretary Priti Patel explained to the public that Johnson’s speech at the meeting was actually praising pharmaceutical companies for developing vaccines at a record-breaking pace, and was talking about how Britain had become a leader in vaccine research and development efforts.
Other participants in the conference also said in media interviews that Johnson was actually trying to show that it was the profit motive and the drive to bring returns to shareholders that prompted the major pharmaceutical companies to speed up the development and rapid launch of the vaccine, thus allowing British citizens to be vaccinated as soon as possible and contributing to the control of the Epidemic.
BBC political news editor Laura Kuenssberg publicly argued that Johnson was clearly joking about Tory Whip Mark Spencer.