Boris Johnson suggested he believed the Covid pandemic was “nature’s way of dealing with old people” as he resisted lockdown measures, Sir Patrick Vallance argued.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser during Covid wrote that the then-prime minister suggested he may have agreed with Conservatives that the “whole thing is pathetic”.

During a hearing on Tuesday, notes were shared from Mr Vallance describing a "bonkers set of exchanges".

He wrote in one of his notebooks in August 2020 that Mr Johnson was "obsessed with older people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life and the economy going. Quite bonkers set of exchanges".

Another note from Sir Patrick in December 2020 suggested the then-prime minister agreed with Tory MPs that Covid was "nature's way of dealing with old people".

Sir Patrick wrote: "PM told he has been acting early and the public are with him (but his party is not). He says his party 'thinks the whole thing is pathetic and Covid is just Nature's way of dealing with old people - and I am not entirely sure I disagree with them. A lot of moderate people think it is a bit too much'. Wants to rely on polling."

The messages were shared during Lee Cain's evidence session, where he faced questions about government decision-making at the height of the pandemic.

Mr Cain was one of Boris Johnson's closest allies during his tenure as director of communications - but he quit the role in November 2020 amid bitter behind-the-scenes in-fighting.

He told the inquiry that the former prime minister was indecisive over whether or not to impose a circuit-breaker lockdown in September 2020 because it was "very much against what's in his political DNA".

Dominic Cummings testimony

Other messages shared at the session revealed Mr Johnson was "melting down" and going into "Jaws Mode" in the week before the UK's first national lockdown.

According to today's hearing, key government figures agreed on March 14 that a lockdown was needed, however, it took another 10 days for that to happen.

In between that time, texts show Mr Johnson's former top aide Dominic Cummings venting about the then prime minister returning to "Jaws mode" - a reference to the mayor in the Spielberg film who wanted to keep the beaches open.