Boris Johnson’s mobile phone number was left online for 15 years, raising fears hackers could have accessed it

boris johnson mobile phone number online
  • Boris Johnson’s mobile number was publicly available on the internet for 15 years.
  • It raises concerns that spies could have hacked his phone.
  • Johnson now appears to have switched off his phone.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s personal phone number was publicly available on the internet for 15 years, raising concerns that his phone could have been vulnerable to hacking by foreign agents.

The prime minister’s number was attached to the bottom of a 2006 press release which was published when he was shadow education minister.

The press release, which was promoting a pamphlet written by Johnson, invited readers to contact Johnson “directly” on his House of Commons landline or on his personal number.

The presence of the number was first reported by Popbitch, a UK gossip newsletter. The press release was subsequently deleted.

“If his mobile phone number has been that widely available, you can’t rule out that others who you really don’t want to have his number like hostile states with sophisticated cyber capabilities or criminal gangs may have it as well,” Peter Ricketts, the former UK national security adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Labour MP Kevan Jones, a member of parliament’s intelligence and security committee, told Politico: “This is extremely worrying with massive security implications.”

The prime minister’s use of his mobile phone has been under scrutiny in recent weeks after the BBC reported on leaked texts between himself and James Dyson, the billionaire entrepreneur.

Johnson personally assured Dyson that he would “fix” a tax issue for him, the report said.

Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, also texted Johnson in an attempt to lobby him over an attempted takeover of Newcastle football club, the Guardian reported.

Johnson was reportedly lobbied so often through his personal phone that Simon Case, the UK’s most senior civil servant, had urged Johnson to change his mobile number because so many people had access to it, the Telegraph reported.

The Times reported that a welfare claimant was able to contact Johnson personally and ask for help with a benefit claim after a friend gave them the prime minister’s number.

Johnson referred the issue to the department for work and pensions, which resolved it, the report said.

It appears almost certain that Johnson will now have to change his number, which now redirects to an automated message saying: “This person’s phone is switched off. Please try later or send a text.”

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Boris Johnson’s secretive funding of his luxury Downing Street flat refurbishment under investigation by the Electoral Commission

Boris Johnson electoral commission investigation downing street flat
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds.

  • Boris Johnson’s lavish Downing Street flat refurbishment is under investigation by the Electoral Commission.
  • They say there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect an offence has been committed.
  • The refurbishment was allegedly secretly funded by Conservative Party donors but not declared by the Prime Minister.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Electoral Commission has opened a formal investigation into the funding of Boris Johnson’s lavish Downing Street renovation, saying that there is a “reasonable grounds to suspect an offence” had been committed.

Johnson ordered that his 11 Downing Street flat, which he shares with partner Carrie Symonds, should be refurbished, at a total cost of £88,000 after he became prime minister.

However, it has since emerged that the prime minister reportedly funded part of the refurb from donations given to the Conservative Party.

Under UK electoral law, all such donations need to be publicly declared, which Johnson did not do so within the legal time period.

Johnson later paid back the money, after it was revealed by the press.

A spokesperson for the Commission said on Wednesday that “We are now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred. We will therefore continue this work as a formal investigation to establish whether this is the case.

“The investigation will determine whether any transactions relating to the works at 11 Downing Street fall within the regime regulated by the Commission and whether such funding was reported as required.”

The refurbishment came after Johnson and Symonds were reportedly keen to get rid of the decoration left by his predecessor as prime minister, Theresa May, which they reportedly described as a “John Lewis nightmare” after the popular UK department store.

Johnson on Wednesday refused multiple times to say who had paid for the initial refurb, under questioning in the House of Commons from opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer, insisting only that he had “covered” the final sum himself.

Watch Boris Johnson grilled over flat refurb at PMQs

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Boris Johnson witnesses say they will swear on oath he said he’d ‘let the bodies pile high in their thousands’

Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson campaigns in Wales ahead of elections on April 26, 2021 in Llandudno, United Kingdom.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson campaigns in Wales ahead of elections on April 26, 2021 in Llandudno, United Kingdom.

  • Boris Johnson’s colleagues are prepared to swear on oath he said he’d “let the bodies pile high,” rather than lockdown, ITV reported.
  • Johnson has categorically denied making the comments.
  • However, multiple news organisations have spoken to current and former colleagues who say they heard him.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Multiple sources who heard Boris Johnson saying he would rather “let the bodies pile high” than allow a third coronavirus lockdown say they are willing to testify under oath that he made the comments, ITV News reported.

The Daily Mail on Monday reported that Johnson shouted that he would “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than permit a third lockdown, at a meeting last October.

Johnson has denied making the comments but ITV News, BBC News, The Guardian and Politico have all spoken to multiple sources who say they heard Johnson making the comments in his office.

Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, on Tuesday said: “I was told by two sources is that the prime minister said this at the end of October in his study.

“He was furious because he felt he’d been railroaded into this second lockdown that happened in November. The Daily Mail initially reported he was so furious he’d rather see bodies piling up than a third lockdown.

“He was in his study and was shouting. I’ve got two ear-witnesses to all this and there’s a third … Both of my witnesses say that if asked under oath they would confirm the reports that ITV has put out and indeed the Mail have put out.”

The news raises the prospects of senior current and former aides potentially testifying against the prime minister in the forthcoming inquiry into the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

It comes as Boris Johnson comes under growing pressure on multiple fronts as he attempts to deflect several political scandals which threaten to engulf his premiership.

The British press and his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, have made several serious allegations about his personal conduct in the last year.

Those include questions about whether Johnson improperly sought political donations to pay for a refurbishment of his flat and whether he sought to delay a leak inquiry that implicated a close friend of his fiancee.

Sources told the Guardian that Johnson was increasingly “isolated” and “uncontrollable” in Downing Street as the allegations continue to swirl around him.

Downing Street has denied all of the allegations.

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Boris Johnson said he’d rather ‘let the bodies pile high in their thousands’ than allow a second lockdown, report says

Boris Johnson let bodies pile high in their thousands lockdown
“No more f*****g lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!” Boris Johnson reportedly said.

  • Boris Johnson reportedly said he would rather ‘let the bodies pile high’ than impose a second lockdown last year.
  • Sources told the Daily Mail that Johnson made the comments at a meeting in October.
  • A senior UK government minister on Monday denied the claims, which he described as “gossip.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson allegedly said he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” rather than impose a fresh lockdown last year, as the coronavirus pandemic raged across Britain.

Sources told the Daily Mail that Johnson made the comments at a meeting in October when he eventually agreed to impose a second national lockdown.

However, his frustration at having to impose new measures reportedly led to him saying during the meeting at 10 Downing Street: “No more f*****g lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”

A spokesperson for the opposition Labour party described the reported comments as “truly shocking.”

“If this report is true, then these are truly shocking and sickening comments from Boris Johnson,” the spokesperson said.

“It is hard to imagine how families who have lost loved ones to COVID will feel reading them. Boris Johnson must make a public statement as soon as possible in his response to this report.”

A senior minister on Monday said the report was not true. “It’s not true – it’s been categorically denied by practically everyone,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News, per Reuters.

“We’re getting into the sort of comedy chapter now of these gossip stories – you know unnamed sources by unnamed advisers talking about unnamed events. You know – look – none of this is serious.”

The briefing follows an extraordinary row between Boris Johnson and his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

Cummings, who left Downing Street acrimoniously in December, published a blog post on Friday denying accusations from Downing Street that he was behind a recent leak of text messages shared between Johnson and billionaire James Dyson.

The prime minister had reportedly called journalists at three newspapers himself to accuse Cummings of being behind the leaks.

Cummings also denied being the so-called “chatty rat” who briefed journalists about the lockdown in October.

He said that a different adviser, Henry Newman was the main suspect of the leak, but Johnson had wanted to delay the inquiry because that adviser was a close friend of his fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

Newman has denied this.

Cummings also said that he had warned Johnson that his alleged plan to renovate his Downing Street flat using money from Conservative donors was “unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations.”

Downing Street last week attempted to defuse the row over the flat’s refurbishment by saying Johnson would meet the cost himself.

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Boris Johnson’s former chief advisor set to blame him for thousands of COVID-19 deaths, says report

Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, walks along Whitehall in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, walks along Whitehall in London, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

  • Dominic Cummings is to blame Boris Johnson for thousands of COVID-19 deaths directly, a Sunday Times report says
  • The powerful former advisor is to appear in front of a parliamentary committee next month.
  • “Dominic has copies of everything and knows where all the bodies are buried,” an unnamed source said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dominic Cummings, the former chief advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is reportedly preparing a dossier of evidence that will attempt to directly blame Johnson for thousands of deaths during the UK’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cummings, a key force behind the successful Brexit campaign, led by Johnson, was a close and powerful advisor to the Prime Minister until he was unceremoniously ousted last November. A report in the Sunday Times says that Cummings will use an upcoming appearance in front of a parliamentary committee to implicate Johnson in the UK’s death toll.

“Dominic has copies of everything and knows where all the bodies are buried,” an unnamed source told the Sunday Times.

The source continued: “He [Cummings] was pushing the prime minister hard to lock down sooner in the autumn and he has lots of evidence that shows that his decision to delay led to devastating consequences.”

Despite high levels of infections at the start of the pandemic, the UK did not implement travel restrictions until January 2021, over nine months after the virus was first discovered in the UK.

Government figures released earlier this year revealed that the number of deaths during the UK’s second wave of COVID-19 had surpassed the first. The combined death toll is now more than 127,000, one of the highest in Europe.

Last night in a tweet, Cummings appeared to criticize the government’s failure to introduce travel bans earlier in the pandemic. In response to a tweet thread on how Vietnam limited its death toll to just 35 by closing its borders, Cummings tweeted: “very important issue re learning from the disaster.”

Earlier this week, in a blog post, Cummings launched an unprecedented attack on Boris Johnson alleging that the Prime Minister and his team behaved in a way that he described as “mad and totally unethical” and tried to hatch a “possibly illegal” plan for private donors to fund renovations to Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

In the blog post, Cummings said: “It is sad to see the PM and his office fall so far below the standards of competence and integrity the country deserves.”

Cummings also alleged that Johnson attempted to quash an internal inquiry about the origins of a series of confidential leaks about the government’s COVID-19 strategy at the start of the pandemic when he learned that the investigation could implicate senior government aid Henry Newman, a close friend of Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

The blog post was published in response to reports where an unnamed government official appeared to blame Cummings for publishing private text messages between Johnson and the billionaire James Dyson regarding a tax waiver.

In response, a government spokesperson said: “The investigation is still live and it would be wrong to think we have landed on any one individual or, for that matter, completely exonerated anyone.”

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still planning to fly to India this month despite a surge in COVID-19 cases

Boris Johnson
  • Labour told Boris Johnson to cancel his planned trip to India next month.
  • It comes amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases there.
  • “I’d much rather the prime minister did it by Zoom rather than traveling to India,” said Labour’s Steve Reed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The opposition Labour Party has told Boris Johnson to cancel his planned trip to India for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.

The prime minister is set to visit India on April 26, and Downing Street has refused to cancel it, with a Number 10 spokesman on Friday saying the trip had been made “slightly shorter than it will have been.”

Labour on Sunday said Johnson should cancel the trip altogether.

“I think he shouldn’t be [traveling to India],” Labour’s shadow communities secretary told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“There are new variants emerging all around the world, the government is telling people ‘don’t travel if you don’t absolutely have to travel.’

“I can’t see why the prime minister can’t conduct his business with the Indian government via Zoom.”

“The prime minister, like all of us in public life, needs to try and set an example. I’d much rather the prime minister did it by Zoom rather than traveling to India.”

India reported a further 261,500 coronavirus cases on Sunday, per Reuters, a figure which has surged in recent weeks.

That took the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 14.8 million, with the chief minister of New Delhi warning that hospital beds were “filling fast.”

The new Indian variant of the COVID-19 virus is potentially very dangerous, experts warn.

It has two mutations that allow the virus to lessen the potency of the vaccine.

The variant – officially named B.1.617 – is believed to driving the spike in India’s cases and 77 cases have been reported in the UK, Sky News reported.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson was also unable to explain on Friday why India had not been placed on the red list of countries from which people arriving in the UK must enter quarantine.

Johnson was due to visit India for four days for talks with the government, but most meetings will now occur on Monday, April 26, Downing Street said, per BBC News.

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Brexit has been a disaster for Britain as collapsing European trade puts UK firms out of business

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boris johnson brexit
Boris Johnson’s Brexit promises have so far fallen short.

  • Brexit has led to a collapse in the UK’s trade with its European neighbors.
  • The Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson’s government has led to the largest ever recorded fall in UK exports to Europe.
  • Many UK businesses could soon become unviable due to the trading friction caused by Brexit.
  • “What I’m hearing a lot is that a lot of small businesses have been shut out completely,” Dominic Goudie, head of international trade at the Food & Drink Federation told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The UK government promised that Brexit would liberate Britain from European trading regulations and herald a bright new era for Britain on the world stage.

Yet despite spending years campaigning for the UK’s exit from the European Union last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his colleagues have been oddly quiet about Britain’s fortunes ever since it left.

The reason for their silence is becoming increasingly obvious. In the few short months since Britain left European trade and customs rules, there has been a dramatic decline in UK trade.

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, trade between the EU and UK was hit hard in January, with exports down by 40.7% compared to December and imports from the EU down by 28% in the same period.

This is the biggest overall fall in exports since records began, yet the decline for some sectors has been even worse.

Analysis by the Food & Drink Federation published last week showed that exports in January dropped from £45 million to £7 million year-on-year, while whisky exports dropped from £105 million to £40 million.

This is a colossal decline. However, for some sectors, like parts of the UK’s world-renowned shellfish fishing industry, the decline could be permanent due to the EU effectively locking Britain out of its market altogether.

Brexit is hitting British businesses hard

boris johnson ursula
Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

Far from liberating trade, Brexit has led to a massive increase in bureaucracy for many British businesses, due to the additional new checks now required.

In fact for some smaller businesses, the piles of paperwork, bureaucracy, and export health certificate checks that are now required to trade with Britain’s closest trading partners now make it very difficult to export anything at all.

“What I’m hearing a lot is that a lot of small businesses have been shut out completely,” Dominic Goudie, head of international trade at the Food & Drink Federation, told Insider.

Brexit is not the only reason that trade between the EU nosedived in January: Part of the drop-off was the result of pre-Brexit stockpiling and the COVID-19 pandemic which has shuttered businesses across the continent, said Goudie, and a British government official told Reuters that trade in February had partially rebounded, although official figures are yet to be published.

However, many leading business figures believe that Brexit’s impact will be permanent, with Adam Marshall, the outgoing director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, telling Bloomberg last week that the impact appeared to be serious and “structural.”

A lot of small businesses have been shut out completely – Dominic Goudie, head of international trade at the Food & Drink Federation,

As an island nation heavily reliant on imports, even small delays to trade can have a big impact.

“If you have a problem with one single item in that entire lorry it delays everything else,” Goudie told Insider.

“That’s the stuff that really worries me,” Goudie said. “Larger businesses are adapting, the volume should start to pick up.

“But the smaller businesses, in particular, are going to be badly hit. That’s what really concerns me in all of this.”

Sales of many lower-value items have, in many cases, simply become unviable. Simon Spurrell, the co-founder of the Cheshire Cheese Company, stopped exporting his packs of cheeses to the EU, which were priced at around £30, because each parcel needed to be accompanied by £180, he told the Guardian.

He said he had been advised by a minister to simply focus on exporting to other markets instead.

All of this is a long way from the bright new trading future promised by Johnson and the UK government.

And while the political debate in Britain has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic in recent months, the longer-term impact of the UK cutting its ties with its closest trading partners could soon become a massive political issue once again.

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American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri said she had a 4-year affair with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Jennifer Arcuri
Jennifer Arcuri ‘admits to Boris Johnson affair’

The American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri has given intimate details of a passionate four-year affair with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was London’s mayor.

Arcuri, 35, a tech entrepreneur who now lives in the United States, told the Sunday Mirror she had the relationship with Johnson, 56, who was married at the time, between 2012 and 2016.

She said the pair met at an event where he spoke in 2011 while she was a student and again the next year when she volunteered to campaign for him in his 2012 election bid.

They first had sex before he had to rush off to sit with his then-wife, Marina, and Princess Anne at the Paralympics opening ceremony in 2012.

The pair subsequently met regularly at her central London apartment to have sex and exchanged sexual messages, Arcuri said, before the relationship ended in 2016.

“We were in an intimate relationship for four years. I loved him, and with good cause,” she told the Sunday Mirror.

Details of a “close friendship” between Arcuri and Johnson were first reported in 2019 when it was revealed that Arcuri had accompanied Johnson on three taxpayer-funded trade missions which he had led.

Arcuri did not confirm the affair had taken place until October last year when she said she was “not going to talk about it.”

Arcuri, who set up the tech firm Innotech, also received multiple grants from public bodies, which totaled more than £100,000, including one from an agency set up by Johnson.

Johnson failed to declare the potential conflict of interest despite strict City Hall code of conduct rules.

Accuri told the Sunday Mirror that Johnson was a “cowardly wet noodle” for not standing by her in the row over her presence on foreign trade trips.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said in May last year there was no evidence that Johnson had committed misconduct in public office by failing to declare his relationship with Arcuri.

But it said that a possible “intimate” relationship between the pair could have influenced the decision by officials to send Arcuri on trade missions.

“While there was no evidence that Mr. Johnson influenced the payment of sponsorship monies or participation in trade missions, there was evidence to suggest that those officers making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms. Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making,” said IOPC’s director general Michael Lockwood in a statement in May last year when the decision was announced.

The Greater London Authority is currently investigating whether Johnson breached part of the mayor of London’s code of conduct.

Len Duvall, chair of the Greater London Authority committee, which is investigating the claims, told the Sunday Mirror: “Our investigation will consider whether Boris Johnson conducted himself in a way that’s expected from anyone in that position.

“It’s important we get those answers because Londoners deserve to have their politicians held accountable.”

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Boris Johnson says the UK’s vaccine success was due to ‘greed’ and ‘capitalism’

boris johnson covid vaccine greed
  • Boris Johnson said the UK’s successful vaccine rollout was due to “greed” and capitalism.
  • The UK prime minister made the comments in a private meeting with colleagues.
  • The comments risk further inflaming tensions with the European Union.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The UK’s successful vaccine rollout was due to “greed” and “capitalism,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told colleagues in a private meeting on Tuesday.

“The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed my friends,” Johnson said, according to the Sun newspaper, during a closed meeting of Conservative MPs.

Johnson made the comments in a private meeting with colleagues on Tuesday evening, who he was addressing after holding a news conference to mark the anniversary of the country’s first coronavirus lockdown.

According to the report, Johnson later said “Actually I regret saying that,” and repeatedly asked his colleagues to “forget” that he had made the comments.

Downing Street did not respond to requests for comment, while opposition MPs condemned the comments.

Some of those present in the meeting tried to contextualize the prime minister’s comments, with one telling the BBC that the prime minister’s comments about “capitalism” and “greed” were in fact a joke directed at the chief whip Mark Spencer, who was eating a sandwich at the time.

“What an obnoxious comment on this day of all days Boris Johnson tells his MPs in private that the UK has been successful in the vaccine war due to “capitalism & greed”,” said Labour MP Barry Sheerman.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said the comments were “not helpful.”

The prime minister’s comments risk further inflaming tensions with the European Union, which have threatened to boil over in recent weeks.

It comes as officials in Brussels threatened to blockade EU-made vaccines bound for the United Kingdom in a bid to bolster the bloc’s faltering vaccine rollout.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, will today announce plans to allow member states to block exports of vaccines bound for countries that aren’t exporting their own homemade vaccines, Politico reported.

EU leaders are set to rule on whether to approve the plan tomorrow, but the chances of the plan winning approval appeared to decrease on Tuesday after Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said she would not support a full export ban.

“You have to be very careful about imposing blanket export bans, and you have to look very carefully at the supply chains,” she said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel on Monday was not drawn on details of the story but broadly defended the prime minister’s comments.

“I didn’t hear those comments so I’m not going to get involved in that but the role of the free market, having absolutely a diversity in terms of different organizations that we’ve been able to work with on vaccinations, is incredibly important,” Patel told LBC Radio.

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The EU and UK are on the brink of a vaccine trade war as London accuses Europe of acting like an ‘enemy state’

boris johnson ursula
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

  • The European Union and the United Kingdom are on the brink of a vaccine trade war after European officials threatened to block exports to the UK.
  • UK officials are also furious at what they see as EU attempts to undermine public trust in the UK-developed Astrazeneca vaccine.
  • The row comes amid months of mounting tensions between Brussels and London over vaccines and post-Brexit trade problems.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The European Union is on the brink of an explosive vaccine trade war with the UK after officials in Brussels said they would block the export of Astrazeneca vaccines to the UK.

The development, which was briefed to outlets including Bloomberg on Sunday came amid threats of retaliation and anger in London over what officials see as reckless comments by some European leaders about the reliability of the vaccine.

Polling by YouGov this week found that trust in the Astrazeneca vaccine has collapsed in mainland Europe following interventions by European leaders questioning its effectiveness and safety.

Scientific studies in Europe, the UK and the US have all found it to be both safe and effective.

However, a total of 61% of people in France now believe AstraZeneca’s vaccine is unsafe, up 18 points from February according to the YouGov poll. The AstraZeneca row in the EU may also have contributed to a rise in mistrust about its efficacy in the UK, where 4% more people think it is unsafe compared to February, YouGov’s poll indicated.

The poll finding was met with disbelief in London with one unnamed UK government official telling Politico that Brussels was acting like an “enemy state.”

“It is one thing for the EU to risk the lives of its own people by spreading disinformation about the Oxford vaccine, that is bad enough,” the official said.

“But for that disinformation to threaten the lives of people in Britain is a seriously hostile act, the sort of which we would usually only expect from an enemy state.”

The row exploded on Sunday when one official told Bloomberg that Astrazeneca vaccines produced in the EU should be reserved for EU member states, which have fallen far behind the UK in their vaccination efforts.

European leaders will meet on Thursday to decide whether to press ahead with a vaccine export ban after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday said British-headquartered AstraZeneca was at risk of breaching its supply obligations to European countries.

“That is the message to AstraZeneca,” she told reporters. “You fulfill your contract with Europe before you start delivering to other countries.'”

“We have the possibility to forbid planned exports.”

As a sign of growing tensions, UK minister Helen Whately on Monday refused three times to deny that the UK would introduce retaliatory measures if the EU proceeds with the ban.

UK defense minister Ben Wallace insisted on Sunday that drug companies must honor contracts and told the BBC: “The grown-up thing would be for the European Commission and some of the European leaders to not indulge in rhetoric.”

The row comes amid months of mounting tensions between Brussels and London over the supply of AstraZeneca vaccines.

There is also fury in London over the decision by thirteen European governments to suspend the use of AstraZeneca vaccines last week over misplaced fears that the jab was unsafe.

A large-scale US trial published on Monday found that the jab was both safe and highly effective, and most European governments have resumed their vaccination programs after the European Medicines Agency last week declared the vaccine safe.

But the temporary suspension of AstraZeneca’s vaccine last week over blood clot fears has led to plummeting trust its safety across Europe, according to a YouGov poll published on Monday, which was reported by Politico.

A US study this week found no evidence of a link to blood clots.

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