Moment Boris Johnson asked to say sorry to daughter of COVID victim he met in No 10 garden

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  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
  • Keir Starmer
    Keir Starmer
    British politician

Watch: Starmer demands Johnson apologise to daughter of COVID victim he met in No 10 garden

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged Boris Johnson to personally apologise to the daughter of a COVID victim after the PM admitted attending a Downing Street party during lockdown.

Appearing in the Commons for PMQs on Wednesday, Johnson apologised for attending the party for 25 minutes, telling the country he "understands their rage" but adding that he did not realise it was a party and thought it was a work event. 

Starmer described 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 explained how Johnson had met Brady in the same Downing Street garden where the lockdown-busting party was held.

Boris Johnson apologised for attending a Downing Street party during lockdown. (Parliament.tv)
Boris Johnson apologised for attending a Downing Street party during lockdown. (Parliament.tv)

Starmer 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?”

Hannah Brady's father, Shaun, died aged 55 after contracting COVID. (Reach)
Hannah Brady's father, Shaun, died aged 55 after contracting COVID. (Reach)

Johnson said he "sympathised deeply with Hannah", adding: "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.”

Johnson has been facing growing calls for his resignation after ITV released a leaked email on Monday evening showing an invite to the "bring your own booze" party in the No 10 garden.

Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson should resign for attending a Downing Street party during lockdown. (Parliament.tv)
Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson should resign for attending a Downing Street party during lockdown. (Parliament.tv)

The public have reacted with fury over the allegations, and two snap polls found a majority now believed Johnson should stand down as prime minister.

A Savanta ComRes study found 66% of British adults thought he should quit, with 24% saying he should stay, while a YouGov survey for Sky News found 56% believed he should go, with 27% saying he should remain.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard has said it is in contact with the Cabinet Office about the latest allegation.

Read more: 'He must resign today': Calls grow for Boris Johnson to quit over 'BYOB party'

As a result, Gray’s investigation could be paused if evidence emerges of a criminal offence and the Metropolitan Police decide to launch an inquiry.

The party on 20 May marks the latest in a long line of allegations that parties were repeatedly held at Downing Street despite lockdown being in force.

Among these, it is alleged that a cheese and wine evening was held on 15 May, an event at which Johnson and his wife Carrie were pictured attending.

Boris Johnson apologised for attending a party in Downing Street during lockdown. (PA)
Boris Johnson apologised for attending a party in Downing Street during lockdown. (PA)

Johnson said of that gathering "those people were at work talking about work".

Further allegations were made of a Christmas party held in Downing Street on 18 December 2020, which Johnson's then-press secretary Allegra Stratton was recorded making jokes about during rehearsals inside Downing Street's new press conference room on 22 December.

Stratton later resigned after the recordings were made public.

Watch: Rayner: 'Public won't forgive PM party allegation'

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