Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over a party at Downing Street in May 2020.
Starmer called Johnson’s attempts to explain the party a “pathetic spectacle,” and called on him to “do the honorable thing” and resign during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday.
A leaked e-mail published on Monday showed one of Britain’s top officials invited staff to “socially distanced drinks in the No. 10 garden” on May 20, 2020, when the country was under strict coronavirus restrictions.
Johnson said he “wanted to apologize” over the party in his opening statement on Wednesday.
“I must take responsibility,” he said.
Johnson later added that misjudgments were made and that he apologizes for them.
“I want to repeat that I thought it was a work event and Mr speaker I regret very much that we did not do things differently that evening,” said Johnson.
In the lead up to Wednesday’s PMQs, various British lawmakers called on Johnson to resign if he has misled Parliament about whether he was present during the party.
“If he has breached his own guidance, if he has not been truthful, then that is an extremely important issue. If the Prime Minister has misled Parliament, then he must resign,” Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, told Sky News on Tuesday.
Other Conservative MPs have been sharing their anger and frustration.
Christian Wakeford, Conservative MP for Bury South, tweeted: “How do you defend the indefensible? You can’t! It’s embarrassing and what’s worse is it further erodes trust in politics when it’s already low.”
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner described Johnson’s position as “untenable” on Wednesday.
Speaking to the BBC, Rayner said: “if he was at that party, he knows he broke those rules and has to act accordingly.”
Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, added to calls for Johnson’s resignation.
Blackford told Sky News that if Johnson had broken ministerial code, he would “have to go.”
This would “really stick in the throat of people” who had not been able to grieve properly for those who had died at the time the party was held,” added Blackford.
On the day the party is alleged to have happened the UK recorded 268 deaths on its coronavirus dashboard.
On Tuesday a group of people who lost family members to Covid-19 wrote to Johnson to express their anger over the fresh evidence that parties took place during lockdown.
Hannah Brady’s father passed away four days before the party allegedly took place.
“On the 20th May 2020, my dad’s death certificate was being signed. We were arranging his funeral 30 years too early…” Brady wrote Tuesday on behalf of a group named COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice.
“I had to stand and watch my grandparents break down over a hole in the ground, terrified that if I went near them they would catch Covid and die too,” she added.