The Prime Minister reportedly told backbench MPs that the UK’s Covid vaccination success was due to “capitalism” and “greed”.
Boris Johnson “very insistently” retracted the statement shortly after making them during a private Zoom call with Conservative MPs.
The BBC reported that the remarks were not related to the ongoing clash with the European Union over supplies of the vaccination.
“The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed, my friends,” Johnson said, according to the Sun.
The UK is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the EU over the bloc’s dwindling vaccine supplies.
More than 28m people in the UK have had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine – amounting to more than half of the adult population.
However just 12 per cent of adults in the EU have had their first jab.
European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen has threatened to block vaccine exports to the UK if Britain does not hand over some of its jab supplies.
Johnson is understood to be willing to compromise over the distribution of supplies manufactured at the Halix facility in the Netherlands in order to prevent the EU implementing a blanket ban on vaccine exports.
“We’re all fighting the same pandemic… We in this country don’t believe in blockades of any kind on vaccines or vaccine material. It’s not something we’d dream of applying,” the PM said during a Downing Street press conference yesterday evening.