'Three of my family died alone because of COVID - Boris Johnson must resign now'

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·Political Correspondent - Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
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  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
  • Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi
    British politician (born 1978)
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Labour MP, for Slough, speaks to the media outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Labour MP for Slough, called on Boris Johnson to quit over revelations he attended a party in the No 10 garden. (PA)

A Labour MP who lost three family members to COVID-19 has called on Boris Johnson to resign after the prime minister admitted he attended a 'bring-your-own-booze' gathering at Number 10 while the country was in lockdown.

Johnson is facing growing calls for his resignation – even from some within his own party – after he admitted on Wednesday that he attended the event in May 2020.  

At prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Johnson told MPs he understood the public's "rage" over the party - but defended himself and said he did not realise the event was a party, and that he had attended to thank staff for their hard work.

Read: Boris Johnson is a ‘dead man walking’, says senior Tory MP

He also questioned whether the party broke the rules and implied it could be classed as a work gathering and thus "technically fall within the guidance".

Speaking before the PM's statement, Tan Dhesi, Labour's shadow rail minister, told Yahoo News UK that if the prime minister "had any integrity in him, he would actually be stepping down and fully" in the aftermath of the scandal.

Watch: Boris Johnson admits he went to No10 party during lockdown

Dhesi spoke about how three of his own family members died alone without visitors and without family to comfort them during lockdown.

He said: “My lovely grandmother passed away. And we were not allowed to go into the hospital because that’s what the rules were. So we couldn’t visit her.”

“My fun-loving uncle was a much loved taxi driver in Slough when he was in hospital at Wexham Park hospital, we were unable to go and visit him, he was not surrounded by the people that loved him during his final hours, and I had to endure the agony of actually watching his funeral online rather than being there in person.

“When my brother-in-law’s father passed away, we weren’t there to comfort him during his final hours either.

Tan Dhesi. (Getty)
Tan Dhesi: 'It’s an absolute disgrace and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves'. (Getty)

"To think that there were people in 10 Downing Street, the people who were making the rules, having parties where you bring along your booze parties, is just diabolical," he said.

"It’s an absolute disgrace and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves."

Read more: 'I didn't realise it was a party': How Boris Johnson changed his story

The prime minister had previously stressed that "all coronavirus rules were followed" in Number 10 in December after reports of a Christmas party emerged held during the worst wave of the virus in December 2020. 

However, on Wednesday, he repeatedly said that he is now waiting for an investigation on the matter to conclude whether rules were broken on this party.

“Let us not forget that this is part of a pattern, a pattern of pathological lying and of supporting wrongdoing," said Dhesi.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arriving with his wife Carrie to deliver his keynote speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday October 6, 2021.
Boris Johnson reportedly attended the party with his wife Carrie. (PA Images)

"When his advisor Dominic Cummings went on a Specsavers trip to Barnard Castle, he was there defending him to the hilt.

"And [again] when it came to his health secretary - who was there preaching ad nauseum to the rest of us about the rules, and about why this pandemic was so serious, [but] was caught having an affair with one of his staff members.”

Read: Tory minister tries to defend PM in car crash interview – ‘It’s an opposition campaign’

Dhesi is not alone in his anger, with campaigners expressing outrage at the new allegations and Conservative MPs turning on the prime minister over the scandal. 

Read more: Revealed: Rishi Sunak was not invited to No 10 'BYOB' lockdown garden party

"You can only imagine the pain, anguish and anger this news has brought to me and those of us lost a loved one to COVID-19," wrote Hannah Brady on behalf of COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice. 

"Put simply, your response has added unnecessary additional hurt to those of us still grieving and who could not even hug our family and friends whilst we buried out loved ones."

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, as he has called for the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he apologised for attending a
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross called for the resignation of Boris Johnson on Wednesday. (PA Images)

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has called on Johnson following his admission of attending the party. 

“Regrettably, I have to say his position is no longer tenable," he told Sky News on Wednesday. 

And senior Tory MP and vice-chair of the 1922 Committee, William Wragg, told BBC Radio 4 that the prime minister's position is now "untenable" following "a series of unforced errors are deeply damaging to the perception of the party". 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the prime minister in parliament on Wednesday that the time had come for him to resign.

“The party’s over, prime minister," he said.

Watch: Labour MP Tan Dhesi launches astonishing attack on Boris Johnson (July 2021)

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