British PM Boris Johnson is attempting to squash rumors that he intends to quit his position as the country’s leader early next year due to residual problems caused by his struggle with covid-19 this past spring.

The rumor began to circulate after it was reported in the Times of London that the father in law of Johnson’s top adviser let the cat out of the bag during a private conversation. Johnson’s top adviser is Dominic Cummings. His father in law is a man called Humphrey Wakefield. Last week, Wakefield reportedly told someone named Anna Silverman that Johnson has plans to step down in six months. Silverman proceeded to share that information with the Times.

According to Silverman, Wakefield likened Johnson to an injured horse, telling her: “If you put a horse back to work when it’s injured, it will never recover.”

The prime minister was quick to try to put the report to rest. When asked about it during his visit to a shipyard in Devon, he replied that “It’s absolute nonsense,” adding, “I am feeling, if anything, far better as I’ve lost some weight.”

Johnson was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in April and had a pretty rough go of it. He spent five days in the intensive care unit at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. After his release he divulged to the Sun that he very nearly died.

“It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it,” he told the paper. “They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario. I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place.

“The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong. They gave me a face mask so I got litres and litres of oxygen and for a long time I had that and the little nose jobbie.”

He recalled being struck by how quickly and severely his condition worsened.

“It was hard to believe that in just a few days my health had deteriorated to this extent,” he said. “I remember feeling frustrated. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better.”

The UK was hit hard by the pandemic but has since got a handle on it. In all they’ve had more than 320,000 cases and more than 40,000 deaths.

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