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Daughter of Covid victim condemns ‘selfish’ PM in wake of partygate report

Safiah Ngah, who lost her father to Covid, with the heart she painted for him at the National Covid Memorial Wall in central London (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Safiah Ngah, who lost her father to Covid, with the heart she painted for him at the National Covid Memorial Wall in central London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The grief-stricken daughter of a Covid victim has said she believes “selfish” Boris Johnson must resign after “raucous and savage behaviour” in Westminster during the pandemic was laid bare in Sue Gray’s report.

Safiah Ngah, 29, wept as she recalled how restrictions in place last February meant she was denied a final goodbye in person with her father, Zahari Ngah, before he died.

Ms Ngah said her 68-year-old father, a retired NHS worker, would have been “scared” and vulnerable without his family in hospital during his last days.

The family had to settle for a video call as their last contact with him – meanwhile Government officials were “cheers-ing”, partying and joking about getting away with it, she said.

She told the PA news agency: “It’s disgusting. It makes me embarrassed to be British.

“The Government is completely out of touch with what real people are experiencing and it’s unsurprising. They’re obviously a group of very privileged people with limited experience.”

“I think it is raucous and savage behaviour from the people that are leading us and supposed to be protecting us,” she added.

Ms Ngah said she thought her father, who believed in democratic accountability, would have been “ashamed” and “disappointed” at how the Government responded to the health crisis.

She added it is clear the Prime Minister had lied and needs to step down, and that for him to stay in office without a thought for the sacrifices people had made would be “almost sociopathic”.

She said: “I think you have to be a very selfish person for you to put yourself and your job above everything else.

“For him to stay and show so little compassion for what people have lost, and so little introspection for what has passed globally, is an indication of the fact that it’s almost sociopathic behaviour. It’s very strange.”

Just weeks before her father’s death, a leaving do was held in Number 10 on January 14 last year and attended briefly by the Prime Minister, according to the report by senior civil servant Ms Gray published on Wednesday.

The whole of England was in full lockdown with harsh limits in place on gatherings at the time.

The event was one of a series in Downing Street which formed part of Ms Gray’s inquiry, parts of which the civil servant said would leave many “dismayed”.

Safiah Ngah
Safiah Ngah has condemned the behaviour of Boris Johnson and Downing Street staff involved in partygate (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Prime Minister has apologised for the failings in No 10 but denied lying about partygate.

He insisted on Wednesday he did not want to “absolve (himself) of responsibility” but that he had always been truthful about his knowledge of the situation.

He added he believes the report had “vindicated” him, despite having been fined for attending the birthday party thrown for him in the Cabinet Room in June 2020.

Ms Ngah is part of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, which earlier on Wednesday condemned Government officials for treating grief-stricken relatives “like dirt”.

The group’s spokesman Lobby Akinnola, whose 60-year-old father Olufemi died with coronavirus in April 2020, said: “There we have it. Whilst the country had one of the highest death rates in the world from Covid-19, they were celebrating over cheese and wine and drinking themselves sick over a karaoke machine.

“Not content with partying whilst he failed to protect our loved ones, the Prime Minister has now spent months ignoring and lying to us.

“He has treated us like they treated their cleaning staff and security who challenged their law-breaking at the time: like we’re an inconvenience, like we’re dirt.”

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