An NHS doctor has described Boris Johnson’s apology over garden drinks at Downing Street in the first lockdown as insulting, and recalled how she was sweating while working in complete PPE around the same time as the event took place.
Dr Saleyha Ahsan, who lost her father to Covid in the pandemic, said she believed the chief Minister’s situation was untenable.
The doctor, who is currently on a clinical break and doing a PhD at Cambridge, was working at a hospital in Bangor in Wales in the early part of the Covid-19 crisis.
Dr Ahsan’s fury comes as a consequence of an email leak ‘showing 100 guests were invited to a bring your own booze No 10 drinks party’ at the height of the Covid lockdown on May 20, 2020, when only two people were allowed to meet each other outside, two metres apart.
On Wednesday, Mr Johnson apologised in Parliament for attending the event, saying he went into the garden to thank staff for their efforts and stayed for 25 minutes.
Read more: Live PMQs updates as Boris Johnson admits he was at boozy lockdown party in No.10
“I believed implicitly that this was a work event,” he told MPs.
But Dr Ahsan said for anyone to suggest that people in Government were “working so super hard that they absolutely needed to go and have a bit of time out and a bit of a group ‘bring your own bottle’ gathering in the private gardens of 10 Downing Street is truly so super insulting”.
She additional: “No-one has worked harder than frontline NHS workers. No-one, absolutely no-one and we didn’t do that.”
She said hearing of “in addition another wrongdoing, another slip-up” by those at the top of Government was “traumatising”, saying healthcare workers “collectively feel insulted”.
Let us know your thoughts on the boozy lockdown party at No.10 in the comments. You can also find out what people had to say about Boris Johnson on the streets of Wales, here.
“What it does, it reminds us of what we were doing at that time,” additional Dr Ahsan.
“And what was I doing in May, 2020? I was dressed in PPE (personal protective equipment). Yeah, the weather was warm. I was sweating, trying not to pass out every time I went into the contamination room to see a patient who had Covid in our complete PPE. We weren’t going out in the evenings to gather as colleagues to have drinks.”
Dr Ahsan, who became involved with the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group after the death of her father, Ahsan-ul-Haq Chaudry in December, 2020, said Mr Johnson’s apology was a “ineffective response”.
She said: “I think it was ineffective. I think it was poor. It didn’t take ownership. It did fall far below what he should have done, which is put his hands up, let in what he’d done, let in that he’s a liability. And I think fair enough that his situation now as chief Minister is untenable.”
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