BORIS Johnson intends to begin the UK Covid inquiry next spring after being accused of being “not fit for office” after allegedly stating "the over 80s should be sacrificed”.

The Prime Minister insisted he “followed the scientific guidance” despite claims by his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, that in October last year, Mr Johnson was relaxed about the virus taking its toll on elderly people and reportedly wasn’t convinced the NHS would become overwhelmed.

In the message, reportedly sent from the Prime Minister's phone number to his aides on October 15, Mr Johnson appears to say he has "been slightly rocked by some of the data on Covid fatalities", adding that the median age of death "is above life expectancy".

"So get Covid and live longer", it added.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson isolating on freedom day 'not a great look', cabinet secretary admits

The message also includes the Prime Minister stating "I no longer buy all those NHS overwhelmed stuff".

During the last session of Prime Minister's Questions before the summer recess, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford attacked Mr Johnson for his alleged comments.

Mr Blackford said: “The Prime Minister didn’t believe that the NHS would be overwhelmed and thought that the over 80s should be sacrificed to the whims of the deadly virus.

"The Prime Minister wrote those words while our NHS was facing the darkest moments in its history, while doctors and nurses were fighting to contain the pandemic.

“The Prime Minister was actively pushing for the virus to be allowed to run rampant through towns and cities. The Prime Minister was willing, in his own words, to allow bodies to be piled high.

“How can anyone have put faith and trust in a Prime Minister who actually typed the words ‘get Covid and live longer’?”

But the Prime Minister, speaking remotely due to having to self-isolate, said Mr Blackford “grossly mischaracterises the substance of those discussions”.

He added: “What I said, I’ve made points in the House of Commons already in the chamber about the language that I’m alleged to have used.”

READ MORE: Dominic Cummings says PM's plan for Scotland-NI tunnel 'most stupid in the world'

Mr Johnson stressed that “the decisions that we had to take at that time were incredibly difficult”, adding “we have to balance very, very difficult harms”.

He added: “I am content that we followed the scientific guidance, and we did whatever we could to save life and to minimise suffering and of course, to protect our wonderful NHS.”

But Mr Blackford hit out at the Prime Minister allegedly believing “the over 80s were expendable”.

He said: “A Prime Minister is charged with protecting society, not putting folk at risk of an early death. Such a glib attitude towards human life is indefensible – the Prime Minister simply is not fit for office.

“The clear pattern throughout this pandemic is there is one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us.

“The reality that the only way to get to the full truth over this UK Government's disastrous handling of the pandemic is for this cabal to be made to answer under oath.”

The SNP Westminster leader called for the Covid public inquiry in the UK to “begin immediately” and appealed for the Prime Minister to “commit to appearing at the inquiry himself under oath before any general election is called”.

Mr Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to holding a “full public inquiry”.

He said: “I also think that it is right that it should go ahead as soon as is reasonable.

“I don’t think that right now, in the middle of a third wave when we’re seeing many of the key people involved in fighting the pandemic very heavily occupied – I don’t think it’s right to ask them to devote a lot of their time to a public inquiry of the kind we would all want to see.

“That's why I think it should start in the spring when I’m pretty confident and so are the rest of the scientific community, that we will be in a much, much better position and able to go ahead.”

Earlier, Labour leader Keir Starmer also pressed the Prime Minister about his alleged remarks.

Sir Keir said Mr Cummings’ claims of text messages sent by Mr Johnson is “proof” that the Prime Minister said the virus was “only killing 80-year-olds or words to that effect”.

He added: “We’ve all now seen the Prime Minister's text message - I quote ‘the medium age for Covid fatalities is 82 – that is above life expectancy’.

READ MORE: Covid Scotland: 'Alarming decline' in younger people being vaccinated

“And we have the Prime Minister's conclusion in the same text - ‘get Covid and live longer’.”

The Labour leader added: “Over 83,000 people aged 80 or over lost their lives to this virus – everyone leaving behind a grieving family and loved ones.

“Will the Prime Minister now apologise for using those words?”

Mr Johnson said “nothing I can do can make up for the loss and the suffering that people have endured throughout this pandemic”.

He added: “There will, of course, be a public inquiry into what has happened.

“What has changed since we were thinking in those ways is of course that we have rolled out vaccines faster than any other country in Europe – 96% of people over 50 now have had a vaccine, 68% of people have had two jabs.”