A woman whose mother died of coronavirus just days before one of the Downing Street parties has called for Boris Johnson to quit as an MP after he denied “hand on heart” lying to MPs over rule-breaking.
Naomi Fulop, who was prevented by restrictions from being with her siblings to grieve properly or have a full funeral, said it was clear the former prime minister had not been honest with the Privileges Committee investigating his statements.
Prof Fulop told The Independent: “It’s totally clear to me and I think to most of the population that he was telling people to do one thing and doing something else himself because he thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
“I would like him to resign as an MP. I don’t think he should be one because he denigrates our parliamentary system.”
One of the gatherings the former prime minister was questioned about in the hearing was a staff leaving do, less than a week before Christina Fulop died in January 2021.
“If he thinks that’s abiding by the rules and doing what everyone else was doing, he’s living on a different planet,” her daughter said.
Mr Johnson told the hearing he had been there to thank staff, but Prof Fulop said they could have held virtual meetings.
“You don’t have to have meetings with alcohol. Other people weren’t doing that. No more than two people were meant to be getting together under the rules at the time.”
Prof Fulop believes her 94-year-old mother caught Covid from a visiting carer because in the first months of the pandemic staff had no PPE, including masks.
“The carers were wonderful but were going from frail person to frail person, potentially infecting them all.”
She and her brother and sister were deliberately staying away from their mother to avoid risking infecting her, so the last time the professor saw her mother alive was four months before she died.
Her mother, who lived in Broxbourne, Herts, was also a university professor, and a “wonderful, amazing” person.
Seven MPs on the Privileges Committee will judge whether Mr Johnson deliberately misled Parliament. If the MPs find against him, they will decide a punishment, which could be a written apology, a docking of his salary or suspension from the Commons for a set time.
The former Conservative leader said he did not lie to the House over his reassurances about Covid guidance being followed in Downing Street during the pandemic.
He told the panel it would have been “utterly insane” for him to have misled Parliament.
He confirmed he gave wrong information to the Commons but said at no point did aides advise him the gatherings went against the rules, and he stressed that he had later corrected the record as he had promised.
But Prof Fulop, who is on the board of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice organisation, said: “I’m afraid I think Mr Johnson doesn’t understand what the truth is.”
She said he needs to be held accountable and the MPs had questioned him well.
“I think they got him on various points – the use of alcohol, the fact he didn’t take proper advice.
“It’s an emotional time. It brings back some painful memories which are hard to deal with.
“But it’s very important this process happens. People have said it’s a popcorn moment. I don’t think it’s funny – it’s a very serious event.”