'Appalled' - bereaved Sunderland daughter calls for PM's resignation following Sue Gray report

Sylvia Griffiths, left, died during the first wave of the pandemic and, right, PM Boris Johnson. Credit: Family photo/PA

A woman from Sunderland who was forced to give her mother a Covid secure funeral says she is appalled by the revelations in the Sue Gray "Partygate" report.

Deborah Doyle had to say goodbye to Sylvia Griffiths with only a handful of other people, with most friends and family having to watch online.

Sylvia died with probable Covid in April 2020, in the first wave of the pandemic. She was 76 and had been living in a care home in Sunderland.

Because her death was linked to Covid, and due to social distancing rules at the time, Deborah says she was denied the chance to say goodbye to her mother properly.

Now, the publication of the Sue Gray report into gatherings at Downing Street during the pandemic has left Deborah feeling "disgusted".

She told ITV Tyne Tees she will not be satisfied with anything short of the Prime Minister's resignation, adding: "He was in charge of the Government, he was in charge of things at that time so when you're at that high authority, the position that he was in, he is responsible."

Deborah Doyle lost her mother during the first wave of the pandemic. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Sue Gray, a top civil servant, investigated a series of gatherings at No 10 during the pandemic. Many of them, she said in her report, "should not have been allowed to happen."

She concluded that a large number of individuals who attended the events "breached Covid regulations and therefore Covid guidance" and pointed to failures in "leadership and judgement".

Speaking in the House of Commons in the wake of the report's publication on Wednesday 25 May, Boris Johnson said he took full responsibility for everything that took place "on my watch" and renewed his apology for what he called a "short lunchtime gathering" on 19 June 2020 at which he was present and later received a fixed penalty notice.

He told MPs he had not knowingly misled them in previous remarks to the House about Downing Street gatherings

At a news conference later, the Prime Minister said he felt "overwhelmingly" that it was his job to remain in office "to get on and deliver."

Nine images of two gatherings at Downing Street are included in the report, which Deborah Doyle sees as particularly powerful.

She said: "It's basically just saying to the British public - we can do what we want but you have to do as we tell you and I think it's absolutely disgusting."

Deborah is a leading member of the group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK.

While the long awaited release of Sue Gray's report is a landmark for them, attention is also focused on the forthcoming Covid-19 Public Inquiry, which will examine how prepared the country was for the outbreak, its handling and lessons to be learned.