Relatives of Covid victims are calling on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to resign after causing “untold hurt” to all those who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have all been fined £50 by the Met Police for attending the PM’s own birthday party on 19 June 2020, breaking Covid restriction laws at the time.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group has slammed them for taking the public “for mugs”, by partying whilst people were unable to be at loved ones’ sides in their dying moments.
Another bereavement charity has told NationalWorld that the PM should realise the “seriousness” of his actions.
‘They took us all for mugs’
Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice want both Boris Johnson and the Chancellor to resign for their “truly shameless” behaviour.
Following the revelation of the fines issued by the olice, they said both should “be gone by tonight” if the pair “had any decency”.
Lobby Akinnola, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “After everything that’s happened it’s still unbelievably painful to know that the Prime Minister was partying and breaking his own lockdown rules – while we were unable to be at our loved ones’ sides in their dying moments, or in miserable funerals with only a handful of people – because we were following the rules.
“The fact that the Prime Minister and his Chancellor then lied about it, and would have continued to do so if the police hadn’t intervened, is truly shameless.”
Mr Akinnola’s own father Olufemi Akinnola died with coronavirus on 26 April 2020 aged 60.
He said: “They broke the law.
“But even worse, they took us all for mugs.”
Mr Akinnola pointed to the time he met the PM in the No.10 garden – the same one where they had law-breaking parties.
Mr Akinnola said: “He looked us in the eye and said he had done everything he could to save our loved ones.
“We now know that that was a lie.”
The Prime Minister has issued an apology, accepting he did breach Covid laws, but has resisted calls from opposition parties to resign.
He said he "spoke in completely good faith" when he repeatedly said all guidelines were followed in Downing Street.
Rishi Sunak also offered an apology and promised that he would "deliver for the British people".
However, despite their apology, Mr Akinnola said: “There is simply no way either the Prime Minister or Chancellor can continue.
“Their dishonesty has caused untold hurt to the bereaved.
“If they had any decency they would be gone by tonight."
‘The fallout from the pandemic has not gone away’
The UK’s bereavement signposting service, At A Loss, is currently dealing with “a tsunami of delayed grief and mental ill health” because of the pandemic, the executive director of the charity told NationalWorld.
The charity provides bereavement support, information and helplines, which can be found on their website.
Jane Woodward said that the PM and Chancellor’s actions in flouting Covid rules will be very hard to take for the many millions of people who were bereaved during the last two years.
She said: “It may feel as if time has passed and we should move on.
“But the fallout from the pandemic has not gone away.”
She added: “The Prime Minister and Chancellor’s behaviour is about much more than attending a 10 minute birthday party - this is about actually taking public health seriously and demonstrating leadership at a time of crisis.
“It would be nice to know that the Prime Minister realises the seriousness of his actions.”
“Lives were in his hands then and will inevitably be again,” Ms Woodward said.
What have the opposition said?
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was among those to immediately call for both the PM and the Chancellor to resign.
He said: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public.
“They must both resign.”
He added: “The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern.
“Britain deserves better.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has claimed Boris Johnson "no longer has the moral authority to lead".
Meanwhile Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also called on the PM to resign, saying: “He broke the law and repeatedly lied to parliament about it.”
Members of the Conservative party have also spoken out against the Prime Minister.
Conservative backbencher Nigel Mills said: “I don’t think the PM can survive or should survive breaking the rules he put in place … He’s been fined.”
He said the public was “rightly angry that at a time when they were observing the very strictest of the rules people who were making the rules didn’t have the decency to observe them”.