The Prime Minister has sparked controversy after he refused to look at a photograph of a four-year-old child sleeping on the floor of a British hospital despite suffering from pneumonia.
The picture was of Jack Williment-Barr was published in the Daily Mirror after his contacts contacted the paper to complain about cuts to the hospital in Leeds.
Joe Pike, a reporter with ITV, tried to show Johnson the picture on his phone while interviewing the prime minister on a visit to Grimsby Fish Market but he not only refused to look at it, but took the phone and put it in his pocket.
— Joe Pike (@joepike) December 9, 2019
Johnson then said: "If you don't mind, I'll give you an interview now."
He then added: "It's a terrible, terrible photo, and I apologise, obviously, to the family, and all those who have terrible experiences in the NHS.”
He later returned the phone but the incident has highlighted Johnson’s perceived inability to empathise with the problems of ordinary people.
— Tracey Ann Miller (@Trayann123) December 9, 2019
Pike then tweeted the full video and at a press event later, several other journalists probed the prime minister about why he had not looked at the photograph but he did not reply directly, instead promising to increase money in the NHS and saying he would rebuild "the whole of Leeds Royal Infirmary from top to bottom."
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said Johnson was a "disgrace of a man.”
— Alistair Fruish (@AlistairFruish) December 9, 2019
The little boy was taken into hospital last week after being ill for six days. His mother, Sarah Williment, said she had to make a makeshift bed on the floor with coats for four hours because of a shortage of beds in the ward.
She said she was "angry at the lack of funding and the lack of beds" and accused Johnson of "failing our children."
— Kate Proctor (@Kate_M_Proctor) December 9, 2019
The photograph had already led to a massive social media reaction and Johnson’s response to the reporter’s question has only intensified it.
The Labour Party is trying to focus the campaign on the NHS, but the Tories are keener to talk about “getting Brexit done”.