Bereaved husband 'sick in the stomach' over partygate blasts Boris Johnson as not 'fit for office'

ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand on what we found out from the long-awaited Sue Gray report, which criticised the culture and leadership in Downing Street over lockdown-breaking parties

A man unable to say goodbye to his wife who was dying with Covid-19 shortly after giving birth to their second child has said Number 10 lockdown parties make him "sick in the stomach", as he urged for Boris Johnson to resign over his "dishonesty". Mary Agyapong, 28, died after giving birth in April 2020 at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, where she worked as a nurse. Stringent lockdown rules prevented Ms Agyapong's husband Ernest Boateng from visiting her in the hospital, meaning the last time he saw her was when paramedics put her in the ambulance.

Speaking publicly for the first time about Downing Street rule breaking during the pandemic, the father-of-two, who says he stuck religiously to the government's rules throughout the crisis, tells ITV News of his pain, suffering and determination to carry on for his children.

He directs much of his fury towards Mr Johnson, who on Wednesday took “full responsibility” after an official report by Sue Gray revealed shocking details of parties in No 10 during the coronavirus lockdowns when various rules on social gatherings were in place.

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie were issued with £50 Fixed Penalty Notices last month for breaking Covid laws at a birthday party held for him in Downing Street in June 2020.

Ernest Boateng said the fact parties were happening around Whitehall during lockdowns makes him feel angry and frustrated

"It actually makes me angry, frustrated and sick in the stomach," Mr Boateng told ITV News when asked how he felt about the parties being organised in Downing Street while law-abiding members of the public made huge sacrifices. "Sincerely, I don't think he gets it. I don't think he gets the sacrifices, the pain, the agony, the suffering, the hell that some of us have had to go through," the father-of-two, referring to Mr Johnson, added. Mr Boateng said the claims of Downing Street parties, confirmed in Sue Gray's damning report, which reveal a culture of drinking in Whitehall, are "all evidence of dishonesty".

Ernest Boateng says that the PM should resign from office over the partygate scandal

"I personally believe he is not fit for public office, and he needs to sincerely apologise to everybody, to the entire British public, and most importantly to everybody who lost family, a relative or their loved ones." He went on to describe a deterioration in his mental health following the death of his wife, who he was not able to pay his "last respects" to and was forced to grieve over in the physical absence of friends and family. All the while, Mr Boateng, originally from Ghana, had to singlehandedly care for his newborn daughter and his son AJ who was "barely" two years old at the time of his mother's death. His youngest child Mary, named after her mother, was born five weeks early.

His late wife, who had been taken into surgery for an emergency caesarean, died after five days in intensive care.

'I channelled pain into love for that girl,' Mr Boateng said about the unconditional love he gives his youngest child

"The best thing I could do was that I channelled all those pains, all those agonies that I was going through into love for that little girl," Mr Boateng explained. "I just wanted to give her the best, everything, that she would've gotten if the mum was around. " "I didn't want any other thoughts to cross my mind that it was because of her we lost her mum." As well as having a devastating effect on him, Mr Boateng said the trauma of his late wife's death will have a lifelong impact on his two children, whom he believes will find it difficult to forgive Mr Johnson for "his actions".

Mr Boateng with his son AJ, who was around two when his mother died in 2020. Credit: ITV News

Ms Agyapong is among the more than 150,000 people in the UK who died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid during the pandemic, which, for much of the time, saw families unable to properly mourn their loved ones due to caps on gatherings.

Mr Boateng says he remains uncertain as to whether Mary was even in the coffin that was lowered into the ground.

"Sometimes I ask myself the question: was my wife actually in the coffin that I buried," he said.

Mary Agyapong wanted to become a specialist diabetes nurse. Credit: Family handout

"And to have a loved one die, and you couldn't actually see her face."

"Why can't I pay my last respect to my wife? Why can't I see the body? Why can't the coffin be open?".

His comments come amid mounting calls for Mr Johnson to resign after the Sue Gray report concluded the “senior leadership” in the government must “bear responsibility” for the culture which led to lockdown rules being broken. The senior civil servant made reference to the huge public sacrifice during the pandemic. "Everyone has made personal sacrifices, some the most profound, having been unable to be with loved ones in their last moments," Ms Gray wrote in her report.

Mr Johnson has said he takes "full responsibility" for the rule-breaking which took place on his watch but has defended himself by saying he was not present for a number of the illegal gatherings.

Boris Johnson delivers a statement to the House of Commons following the publication of Sue Gray's report. Credit: PA

Two days before the long-awaited inquiry was published, ITV News revealed pictures showing the PM drinking at a leaving do for his then director of communications, Lee Cain, in November 2020 when England was in its second lockdown. Asked last December in the Commons whether there had been a party in No 10 on that date, the prime minister said “no” and added he was sure the rules were followed at all times. The pictures, revealed by ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand, reignited the calls for his resignation that had been previously muted by the urgency of the war in Ukraine.

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