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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.
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.
"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."
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.
"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.”
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.
"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."
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)