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Boris Johnson’s pathetic defence of the Downing Street party is plain offensive – he should show some decency and resign

3 min read

The revelations of parties at Downing Street, Ministers breaking their own rules, and the deceit and dishonesty apparent at the heart of this government are an insult to the bereaved families who have suffered so much over the last two years.

Each revelation, each headline, and each interview in which a Minister smirkingly reassures us the rules were followed only reopens the wounds of grief and brings back those feelings of anger, pain, and hurt. Bereaved families have been through enough, we deserve better.

My much-loved Mum died of Covid-19 in March 2020, alone in her hospital bed. I was not able to hold her hand, tell her I loved her, and thank her for all she had done for me in her final moments. Instead, on that cold Manchester afternoon I sat in the carpark outside to be as close to her as I could. My mum meant the world to me, and her sudden death was and remains immensely painful.

The pain of losing loved ones and then being unable to grieve with family and friends is utterly heart wrenching

As if my family had not suffered enough, we were forced to go through it all again when my mother-in-law and father-in-law contracted Covid and died within just two days of one another less than a year later.

Burying my Mum in that first lockdown meant I was denied the opportunity to share my grief and take comfort from my community as is so important in the Islamic tradition. I could not be with my aunts and uncles, or my brothers and sisters. And I could not grieve her loss and celebrate her life with the local community that loved her.

Bereavement is always difficult, and everyone experiences it differently. However, the pain of losing loved ones and then being unable to grieve with family and friends is utterly heart wrenching.

While millions across the country struggled on and obeyed the rules, the Prime Minister was sipping wine with his chums and enjoying the summer sun.

After hiding away in No. 10 and sending his Ministers out to defend him, Boris Johnson finally dragged himself to the House today and admitted his attendance at the party in May 2020. He offered little more than an insincere non-apology for his actions. His pathetic defence, or more accurately his excuse – that he did not realise he was at a party – is so ridiculous, it is just plain offensive.

If it were not so serious, it would be laughable.

Any other leader with an ounce of respect for the office of Prime Minister would have resigned on the spot. Integrity matters, honesty matters, decency matters, but clearly Boris Johnson has none of these qualities.

Conservatives MP now have a choice, they can support Johnson’s desperate attempts to cling onto power or they can show the integrity, honesty, and decency our country deserves and join calls for his resignation.


Afzal Khan is the Labour MP for Manchester Gorton.

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