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Miriam Margolyes caused a stir following an appearance on Channel 4’s The Last Leg when she admitted she “had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die” after learning he had COVID-19.
The comments prompted shocked responses from the show’s hosts but the Harry Potter star quickly went on to say, that despite her initial thoughts, she didn’t want to be “the sort of person that wants people to die” and did want him to get better.
The prime minister was diagnosed with the coronavirus late March before being admitted to hospital last month. He was subsequently treated in intensive care and then released from hospital to recover fully from home.
Margolyes, a member of the Labour party and a long standing political activist, admitted she was torn about her feelings towards Johnson’s health while appearing on the show hosted by Adam Hills.
Though she did make the shocking comments about hoping he would die, she quickly clarified they were fleeting thoughts as she wanted him to “get better” both in terms of his health and as “a human being”.
The Last Leg; Locked Down Under aired Friday (8 May) with hosts Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, appearing via the internet.
When asked about how the government were handling the pandemic, she did not pull any punches.
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Speaking from her home via video call, she answered: “Appallingly, of course, appallingly. It’s a disgrace, it’s a scandal. It’s a public scandal. I had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die. I wanted him to die.”
She then clarified: “Then I thought that will reflect badly on me and I don’t want to be the sort of person that wants people to die.”
Hills, Widdicombe and Brooker were then seen looking shocked and before the 78-year-old went on: “So then I wanted him to get better, which he did do, he did get better. But he didn’t get better as a human being. I really would prefer that.
“So we’re in the s**t, basically, here.”