Ilford North’s MP has claimed allegations Boris Johnson said he was prepared to let “bodies pile high” rather than order another lockdown are ‘true’ – the Prime Minister has since categorically denied saying it.

Today, The Prime Minister told reporters lockdowns had worked and insisted the public wanted the Government to focus on tackling coronavirus as he faced questions about the bitter briefing war that has hit No 10.

The remarks were reportedly made after the Prime Minister agreed to a second lockdown, and suggest Mr Johnson was prepared to face a mounting death toll rather than order a third set of tough restrictions, something he was eventually forced to do.

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, took to twitter to voice his belief the allegations were true, saying: “The thing about the Mail front page is that we all know it’s true because it’s the pattern of his life: the man is a serial liar and a cheat. Look at his record - at home and at work.

“What’s shocking is that he was just saying what the Chancellor and others were calling for.”

In a later tweet he added: “Boris Johnson is a serial liar.”

The Prime Minister’s alleged comments on a second lockdown last autumn are the subject of an inquiry to find the so-called “chatty rat” who tipped off the press.

The UK’s most senior civil servant is expected to indicate he has not cleared Mr Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings over that leak, despite the ex-aide’s claims to the contrary.

Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, is expected to say his inquiry is still “live” when he appears before the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) on Monday.

Mr Cummings has accused Mr Johnson of seeking to block the investigation after learning that a close friend of his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, had been implicated, a claim the Prime Minister denied.

In an incendiary blog post, Mr Cummings went on to say that Mr Case had told Mr Johnson that neither he nor the then No 10 director of communications, Lee Cain, was the culprit.

However, officials familiar with the investigation said that it had neither “landed” on any one individual nor exonerated anyone.

The disclosure is likely to further anger Mr Cummings, who released his onslaught after he was accused by No 10 of a series of damaging leaks, including text message exchanges between Mr Johnson and the entrepreneur Sir James Dyson.

Ministers are now concerned at what he may say when he gives evidence to MPs investigating the Government’s response to the pandemic next month.

Mr Cummings is widely known to have been critical of Mr Johnson’s delay in launching a second lockdown in England when cases began rising last autumn, and there is speculation he will seek to blame him for the high death toll.

The Daily Mail carried the claim that, following the lockdown, the Prime Minister said he would rather see “bodies pile high in their thousands” than order a third one.

The paper did not give a source for the allegation, but ministers hit out at “gossip” spread by “unnamed advisers”.

Asked if he made the comments, Mr Johnson told reporters in Wrexham: “No, but I think the important thing I think people want us to get on and do as a Government is to make sure that the lockdowns work.

“They have, and I really pay tribute to the people of this country, this whole country of ours, really pulled together and, working with the vaccination programme, we have got the disease under control.”

He insisted the “stuff that people are talking about” in Westminster were not issues being raised on the doorstep ahead of the May 6 elections.