‘We will never forget being apart from those closest to us whilst they passed away’, say families
A group of 4,000 families who lost loved ones from Covid-19 have hit out at the prime minister after his government was guilty of “a serious failure” to abide by the “standards expected of the entire British population” during the Covid pandemic.
One woman, who lost her father in April 2020, told The Independent she was “sickened” by the findings of the Sue Gray report and called for Mr Johnson to step down.
The report into the No 10 parties found “too little thought” was given in No 10 to “the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public”.
Findings revealed dozens of staff attended a drunken party, planned two weeks beforehand, where red wine was spilt on a wall, one individual was sick due to “excessive alcohol consumption” and there was a “minor altercation” between two other partygoers.
Along with No 10 officials attending one gathering on 15 May were Department of Health and Social Care officials and special advisers. Former health secretary Matt Hancock attended the meeting at 6pm following a press conference and left at 6.25pm, according to the report.
Lobby Akinnola, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “Whilst the country had one of the highest death rates in the world from Covid-19, they [No10] were celebrating over cheese and wine and drinking themselves sick.
“When they were texting colleagues about getting away with it, we were having to text our families telling them they couldn’t come to their loved ones’ funerals. The messages in the report show they knew how disrespectful they were being to the families they were failing, but that didn’t bother them.
“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.”
He said MPs that have kept Mr Johnson in power are “no better,” adding: “We will never forget being apart from those closest to us whilst they passed away, or having to hold miserable funerals with only a handful of people, millions will never forgive them for the disrespect they’ve shown.”
A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said: “Matt has not been criticised in Sue Gray’s investigation. Matt’s inclusion is a factual statement outlining exactly what he said at the time. He was there to debrief his team and the prime minister, before leaving Downing Street at 6.25pm to continue working.”
Jean Adamson, whose father Aldrick died from Covid-19 on 15 April 2020, described how she had to see him from the window in the last moments of his life.
Ms Adamson described her dad as a “very gentle, contented family man” who loved to play instruments and would sing to his great-grandchildren.
On 9 April, Ms Adamson and her family were told her father, who was in a care home, likely had Covid.
She told The Independent: “The care home was in lockdown, we as a nation were locked down, and I wasn’t able to go in and see him. It was one of the most difficult periods, really, of my life, knowing that my father was dying and not being able to even touch his hand. It was devastating, I would speak to him through the window.”
She said her family were not able to give Mr Adamson the funeral he deserved, with only a handful of people allowed to gather by his graveside.
Ms Adamson said: “It sickens me to the pit of my stomach to know that the prime minister of this country and his people, the staff that worked for him and other ministers were just blatantly flouting the rules and breaking the laws … they have disrespected us all really, as a nation laughing at us, really mocking us.
“We have a prime minister who is unfit for office, but instead of resigning, doing the honourable thing, he clings on to power.”