Boris Johnson so desperate not to look at boy with flu, he pockets a reporter's phone
PUBLISHED: 14:28 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 09 December 2019
Boris Johnson has been confronted with a picture of a little boy forced to sleep on a hospital floor - but was so keen not to face up to the image of the child he slipped the reporter's phone into his pocket.
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The prime minister admitted he had not seen the now-infamous picture of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr, the little boy with flu and tonsillitis who had to sleep on a pile of coats on a hospital floor and was not given a bed for 13 and a half hours. .
Sarah Williment, the boy's mother, told the Daily Mirror that she would now be voting Labour as a result of the harrowing experience.
When confronted by ITV political reporter Joe Pike, Johnson said he'd "just been told about it by the BBC", but would not take the opportunity to look at the picture being shown to him on the phone held out by the reporter.
MORE: Boris Johnson forced to apologise after boy with flu slept on hospital floor
"Obviously we have every possible sympathy for everybody who has a bad experience in the NHS. And that's why we're putting a record investment into the NHS now."
He continued by repeating the now discredited claim that the Conservatives are building 40 new hospitals.
"I'm asking you about this boy, prime minister," said Pike. "How do you feel looking at that photo?"
"Of course," said Johnson, not breaking eye contact with Pike. "I haven't had a chance to - I'll study it later,"
But the reporter insisted, asking: "Why don't you look at it now?"
Johnson responded by saying: "What we are doing is we are taking this country forward and we are investing in the NHS, and what would be the worst thing possible would be to have a government that is mired in more deadlock, more disarray and unable to move forward. So I have every sympathy with families who have ..."
But the reporter said: "You refuse to look at the photo, you've taken my phone and put it in your pocket, prime minister.
"His mother says the NHS is in crisis. What's your response to that?"
Finally looking at Pike's phone, Johnson said: "It's a terrible terrible photo, and I apologise obviously to the family and any of those who have terrible experiences in the NHS. But what we are doing is supporting the NHS and on the whole patients in the NHS have a much better experience than this kid has had."
He continued by saying that "unblocking" parliament's deadline wth a Conservative majority is the only way to make bigger investments in the NHS.
He also apologised for pocketing the phone.
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