For Jackie Greenwhose mother died alone with Covid in hospital on the same day No 10 hosted a boozy Christmas party, the thought of a Boris Johnson return is horrifying.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that anyone would even consider the fact that he should run again,” she said.
Green is one of many people whose loved ones have died during the pandemic who are outraged that Johnson is considering becoming prime minister again.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” Green said. “It is simply unbelievable that a man who has continually lied to Parliament, continually lied to the British public, ignored his own rules and created a culture of entitlement within his government is once again seen as the leader of this country.”
Green, 60, last saw her mother, Beryl Harris, on a video call before she died. Because his mother was protecting in Warwickshire and Green lived in south London, they had not been able to see each other in person for 10 months.
Beryl had been hospitalized for a relatively routine blood transfusion to treat anemia when she caught the virus. “It seemed to me that there weren’t really any rules for hospitals in terms of infection control measures,” Green said. “My mother was moved five or six times in two weeks.”
Beryl seemed to be doing better, but the hospital called in the early hours of December 18, 2020 to say she had died alone. The news was hard to accept – and when Green found out later that same day that No 10 staff had been drinking wine and cheese and playing Secret Santa – it only got harder.
“The fact that they were in close quarters having a big party, when only hours before I was told my mum had died of Covid was just devastating to me. It was bad enough losing my mom, but it felt like getting kicked in the teeth afterwards, just for good measure.
While Johnson was not at the wine and cheese party himself, Green sees it as a failure of his leadership.
“He created this culture of entitlement within his own government,” Green said. “Regardless of the fact that he attended all the parties that happened, it doesn’t matter, he allowed them to continue. The man has absolutely no moral fiber.
Johnson is still under investigation by a Commons committee after he was accused of misleading MPs about parties in Downing Street during lockdown which flouted the rules. He has also yet to give evidence at the UK’s official Covid public inquiry.
Lobby Akinnola, spokesperson for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, said: ‘It is devastating for bereaved families to think that anyone in the Conservative Party is considering bringing Boris Johnson back as Prime Minister.
“He was the man who oversaw the deaths of 200,000 British citizens from Covid-19 on his watch. The man who celebrated as we had to say goodbye to our loved ones on a screen and then who spent six months lying to us about it The man who joked about ‘letting the bodies pile up’ when he refused to learn the lessons of the first wave and let even more people die in the second.
Mike Handley55, from Chorley in Lancashire, was planning his father Ian’s funeral on Zoom the day Johnson allegedly hosted an ‘Abba party’ at his flat on November 13, 2020.
Ian, a former bus driver, died with Covid aged 76. Handley, who is now caring for her mother, said: ‘I would be appalled if they allowed her to come back.
Handley joined Labor this week and says he plans to tell the story of what his family has been through during the pandemic to persuade people not to vote Conservative in the next election.
“I think if he comes back, I can honestly see civil unrest in the streets. I can see people marching down Downing Street, much like the election riots of the late 80s. I just don’t see the general public to accept his return.
Handley has never been on marches in London before, but said he would give it serious consideration if Johnson returns to Number 10.
Lindsay Jackson64, was unable to see her mother, Sylvia, in the weeks before her death from Covid in a care home on April 17, 2020.
A retired civil servant from Bakewell in Derbyshire, Jackson said: ‘I am amazed and horrified at the prospect of him taking on a role of responsibility in our country. We need an honest, capable, sober, reliable, competent and serious person to get us out of the crisis in which his government and the next government have left us. Not one of those adjectives in my list applies to Johnson.
She added: “At least Truss’ incompetence has only cost us money – so far. Johnson cost my mother and my family the human decency to be with her when she died and to mourn her properly. And he was so insensitive that he said he wanted the bodies to pile up rather than make the unpopular decision to lock down and protect people.
“He is precisely the wrong person to take control of this crisis. Anyone would be better than him.