Support 100 years of independent journalism.

Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings’s war of words

Did the Prime Minister really say he’d rather “let the bodies pile high” than go into a third lockdown?

On the latest episode of the New Statesman Podcast, Stephen Bush, Anoosh Chakelian and Ailbhe Rea address the public war of words between Boris Johnson and his former top adviser Dominic Cummings.

They discuss allegations, denied by No 10, that the Prime Minister said he’d rather let “bodies pile high in their thousands” than go into a third national lockdown, and why questions over who paid for Downing Street’s refurbishment could prove more damaging than anything else.

Then, in You Ask Us, the team take your questions on why protests over the Super League weren’t as heavily policed as the Sarah Everard vigil.

If you’d like to submit a question for You Ask Us, please email

Further reading

Stephen argues that the feud between Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings could be disastrous for all Tory factions.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Harry Lambert writes that Dominic Cummings has been playing Boris Johnson for far longer than the Prime Minister realises, but the question is why Johnson kept someone so untrustworthy so close to him.

Martin Fletcher argues Boris Johnson is no “man of the people” but a self-serving con artist.

How to listen to the New Statesman podcast

1. In your browser

You can use the player above to listen in your browser right now. The New Statesman podcast publishes twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays. All episodes are published to on the day of release. Subscribers to the New Statesman can access episodes a day early, in our subscriber edition.

2. In a podcast app

The New Statesman podcast is available on all major podcast apps including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Acast, Google Podcasts, and more. Search ‘New Statesman podcast’ in your favourite podcast app, and subscribe or follow to make sure you receive episodes as soon as they publish. While you’re there, please leave a review for the podcast – it helps others find the show, which in turn makes it possible for us to keep making it.

3. On your smart speaker

If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod smart speaker, ask it to “play the latest episode of the New Statesman podcast”. The same command also works with virtual assistants on mobile devices.

Content from our partners
Transport is the core of levelling up
The forgotten crisis: How businesses can boost biodiversity
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery

Topics in this article: ,