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Bereaved families ‘will not be able to move on’ after Boris Johnson resignation

The National Covid Memorial Wall opposite the Palace of Westminster in central London (Victoria Jones/PA)
The National Covid Memorial Wall opposite the Palace of Westminster in central London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Families who lost loved ones to coronavirus and were “ripped apart” by Boris Johnson’s actions will not be able to move on following his resignation, a campaign group said.

The Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice group said Mr Johnson will be remembered as a prime minister who failed to act when coronavirus first started spreading through the country, allowed hospitals to be overwhelmed, and left care homes defenceless.

On Thursday, the PM finally announced he would step down following dozens of resignations – a mass exodus triggered by the departures of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid from the Cabinet.

It follows a series of political scandals, including months of lockdown breach accusations, with bereaved families repeatedly calling for Mr Johnson to quit.

The final report by senior civil servant Sue Gray into partygate blamed “failures of leadership and judgment” for allowing alcohol-fuelled gatherings in Downing Street when millions of people across the country were unable to see friends and family or say their goodbyes.

Lobby Akinnola, whose father Olufemi Akinnola died with coronavirus in April 2020 aged 60, said Mr Johnson’s reign may be ending shortly but “his devastating impact on families like mine will not”.

A spokesman for the bereaved families group said: “Whilst Johnson will move on to a life of writing newspaper columns and being paid eye-watering amounts to give after-dinner speeches, there will be no moving on for the families like mine that have been ripped apart by his actions.

“For us, Johnson will always be the man that wanted to ‘let the bodies pile high’ whilst our loved ones desperately fought for their lives and that partied whilst we had to say goodbye to our loved ones over a screen.”

Mr Akinnola said the group hopes the forthcoming public inquiry will “bring some closure” and ensure “no one will be able to repeat Johnson’s terrible mistakes and get away with it”.

Mr Johnson formally established the public inquiry and set out its terms of reference at the end of last month – days after bereaved families warned they could take legal action against the Government over delays.

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