Peterborough Labour leader calls for Boris Johnson to resign saying the PM ‘let the entire country down’
The leader of the Peterborough Labour Party has called for Boris Johnson to resign, saying the Prime Minister ‘let the entire country down.’
Cllr Shaz Nawaz made the calls following today’s Prime Minister’s Question Time, during which Mr Johnson apologised for a ‘bring your own booze’ party held at Downing Street during the first COVID lockdown. Mr Johnson said he believed the ‘party’ was a ‘work event’
Cllr Nawaz said; “I am hugely disappointed with the prime minister’s behaviour. He attended parties while the entire country was instructed to stay at home. It then took a lot of pressure for him to admit he had attended parties.
“People missed funerals, birthdays, anniversaries etc. Some weren’t even able to see loved ones who passed away after contracting the virus. It’s total hypocrisy.
“As a councillor, I was requesting people in my ward to stay at home. Most people listened and followed the advice in difficult circumstances. The prime minister’s behaviour is totally unacceptable as he was doing the complete opposite of what he was telling the country to do.
“He ought to resign as he has let the entire country down. There is no way people will have faith in any of his future instructions. He failed to lead by example and that’s unforgivable.”
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said people should wait until an investigation is concluded before calling for action.
He said: “The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, apologised in Parliament today during Prime Minister’s Questions for attending the event on 20th May 2020.
“More generally, Sue Gray, a very senior civil servant, is currently carrying out an investigation of all the facts and will be reporting back as soon as possible.
“The result of Ms Gray’s investigation will be made public and I believe that the outcome of her report should not be pre-judged.”
In his apology at the House of Commons today, Mr Johnson said: “I want to apologise. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.
“I know the anguish they have been through – unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they want, or to do the things they love.
“I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.
“And though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.
“No 10 is a big department with a garden as an extension of the office which has been in constant use because of the role of fresh air in stopping the virus.
“When I went into that garden just after six on May 20 2020, to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event.
“With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them.
“I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden from meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies.
“All I ask is that Sue Gray be allowed to complete her inquiry into that day and several others so that the full facts can be established.
“I will of course come back to this House and make a statement.
Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer said: Sir Keir Starmer described Boris Johnson as a “man without shame” as he highlighted the case of Hannah Brady, whose father Shaun died aged 55 after contracting Covid.
The Labour leader told MPs: “Her father died just days before the drinks trolley was being wheeled through Downing Street and last year Hannah met the Prime Minister in the Downing Street garden. She looked the Prime Minister in the eye and told him of her loss.
“The Prime Minister told Hannah he had done everything he could to protect her dad. Looking back, what Hannah told me last night was this – she realises the Prime Minister had partied in that same garden the very day her dad’s death certificate was signed.
“What Hannah wants to know is this: does the Prime Minister understand why it makes her feel sick to think about the way he’s behaved?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I sympathise deeply with Hannah, with people who have suffered up and down this country during the pandemic, and I repeat that I wish things had been done differently on that evening, and I repeat my apology for all the misjudgments that may have been made, that were made on my watch in No 10 and across the Government.
“I want to reassure the people of this country, including Hannah and her family, that we have been working to do everything we can to protect her and her family.”
The Peterborough Telegraph has contacted Peterborough MP Paul Bristow and leader of Peterborough City Council cllr Wayne Fitzgerald for comment about the issue.