COPELAND MP Trudy Harrison has backed the Prime Minister in a row over comments he allegedly made during a meeting.

Several media outlets have reported that Boris Johnson said he would "let bodies pile high in their thousands" rather than order another lockdown.

However, Downing Street and the Prime Minister himself have strenuously denied the claims, which come amid a public war of words between the PM and his former top adviser, Dominic Cummings.

Mrs Harrison, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, stated she had never heard Mr Johnson make any statement of the sort.

She said: "The Prime Minister is saying he hasn't said it, and I have never heard him say it, or anything like that.

"I've been in 100s of meetings with the Prime Minister, and with him two to three times a week,

"It's clearly designed to be the kind of comment that creates outrage, and it's done a very good job of damaging the Prime Minister's reputation."

The source of the allegations remains unknown, but it comes days after Dominic Cummings was accused of leaking texts between the Prime Minister and businessman James Dyson - something Mr Cummings denied in a blog.

Mrs Harrison suggested the leak could be a former employee.

She continued: "It's not the first time that a person has left their job and chooses the most opportune moment - and in politics that's before an election - to reveal sordid details or unfounded allegations.

"I've yet to find anybody who substantiates the comments. I can only go on what I've seen.

"I find the Prime Minister to be a very kind, often funny but deeply serious, dedicated man who seeks to create the best country he can."