LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire on Monday for his response to being shown a photo of a sick child lying on a hospital floor ahead of the Dec. 12 election.
Britain’s Prime Minister and Conservative leader Boris Johnson talks with journalists as he travels aboard a plane bound to Birmingham, Britain, December 9, 2019. Ben Stansall/Pool via REUTERS
Johnson’s Conservatives lead the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls, with Brexit and the future of the country’s public health service the two most prominent campaign issues.
During an interview, an ITV reporter repeatedly tried to show Johnson a picture on his phone of the 4-year-old boy lying on a pile of coats, which featured on the front page of the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror.
The newspaper said the boy had suspected pneumonia and had to be treated on the floor because there were no beds available.
Johnson initially avoided looking at the phone, and instead began describing his investment plans for the National Health Service (NHS) while saying he had not had a chance to see the photo.
The reporter said Johnson then took his phone and put it in his pocket.
When challenged, Johnson took the phone out, looked at it and said: “It is a terrible, terrible photo, and I apologise obviously to the family and all those who have terrible experiences in the NHS, but what we are doing is supporting the NHS.
“On the whole I think patients in the NHS have a much, much better experience than this poor kid has ha