Boris Johnson is not only healthy, but "enormously, enormously vigorous", Matt Hancock has said, following claims the Prime Minister seems tired.

It followed suggestions on Times Radio that Mr Johnson looks "exhausted and defeated" - and questions on whether he was fit to run the country.

The Health Secretary said: "Yes of course absolutely, he's enormously, enormously vigorous and I think it's important to recognise that this is a really big moment.

"The seriousness of the decisions we take can't be overestimated and we're making judgments about how to protect the health of the nation and how to save tens of thousands of lives whilst balancing that with the enormous social and economic and health impacts of the measures that we have to take.

"These are huge decisions and very weighty ones and so it's hugely understandable that the people making them should be taking them extremely seriously."

Last month Downing Street was forced to deny claims the PM had struggled to recover from coronavirus and was planning to step down in six months.

Senior figures inside No 10 slammed the story from the Times diary, which claimed to report words from  Dominic Cummings  father in law that  suggested Mr Johnson would leave office soon.

The diary story claimed that a journalist named Anna Silverman, had spoken to Sir Humphry Wakefield, father of Mr Cummings’ wife Mary, on a trip to their home Chillingham Castle in Nothumberland.

who had last week visited Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, which is home to Sir Humphry Wakefield, father of Cummings’ wife Mary.

The piece claimed that Sir Humphry “merrily informed her that  Boris Johnson  is still struggling badly with having had Covid-19 (as if being a new father and needing to babysit Gavin Williamson isn’t tiring enough) and will stand down in six months”.

It continued: “A keen rider, Wakefield compared having the virus to being gone in the fetlock. ‘If you put a horse back to work when it’s injured it will never recover.’”

The PM spent a week in hospital, including three nights in intensive care, after being admitted on 5 April.

During his hospitalisation, he received regular oxygen treatment to help his breathing.

After he was discharged on 12 April, Mr Johnson suggested his condition "could have gone either way" and praised the staff at St Thomas' Hospital in central London who looked after him.

Since then he has adopted a new focus on health and wellbeing - and after losing weight himself has encouraged the country to go on a diet.