Norfolk woman now wishes she had broken Covid rules to see dying mother

Boris Johnson/Jeremy Vine/Care home

Following Boris Johnson's apology for attending a party during lockdown, Lynne from Norfolk has expressed her regret over not breaking Covid rules to see her dying mother. Insert: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Vine. - Credit: PA WIRE/PA Features Archive

A woman from Norfolk has said she wishes she had broken Covid restrictions to see her dying mother in light of Boris Johnson's apology for attending a Downing Street party.

Lynne, from Norfolk, called the Jeremy Vine on 5 show to express her anger at claims the prime minister broke Covid rules for "something as trite as a party", while she obeyed them for the "greater good".

Mr Johnson said that the event on May 20, 2020, was "technically within the rules" of the first lockdown but he should have realised how it would look to the public.

Lynne told the Channel 5 show that only Mr Johnson's resignation would make her mother's death justifiable.

"My mum died nine days into the first pandemic. She was in a care home and died through not seeing myself or my sister," she said.

"We visited her every day for the five years she was in the care home. I was always confident she would never die alone cause we were a tag team.

"We made sure that her life was as happy as it could be. We gave her love every day. And then she died because suddenly our visits just stopped.

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"We were not allowed to go in. And there are lots of people, like my mum, who died basically of a broken heart. Over that loss of contact with their loved ones.

"So I want my mum to be known. Winifred Wilkins — she was one among hundreds who were lost because they didn't have any social interaction.

"I think if Boris Johnson had actually visited a dying relative and pulled rank, I'd have some respect for him — because God knows I would have done that in my situation."

Lynne, who was emotional and struggled to speak at times during her conversation with Mr Vine, said she is now questioning whether it was worth following the rules. 

She said: "I wish I could I could have done more. Should I have insisted on seeing my mum?

"My parents brought me up to know right from wrong, so for the collective good I thought I'd done the right thing. And prior to now, that was what was helping me deal with it.

"But now I'm thinking was I right to do that? Because there are so many people in care homes across the country, they rely on that love from their families to get through a day shut in a room on their own. 

"And I have to live with that. I can't speak to my mum again. I can't ever put that right.

"Boris Johnson's resignation is the only way that Winifred Wilkins' death will in some way be justified.

"When one of your guests talks about instability and changing the leader, we need a leader who has integrity.

"Frankly, whatever he says to me now, I will not follow it."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement ahead of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of C

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement ahead of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. - Credit: PA

Lynne's reaction comes after the prime minister told the Commons that he did attend a gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street during the first coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Johnson apologised for attending the event in May 20, 2020, saying he understood the public's anger but he had thought that the gathering was a "work event".

"I believed implicitly that this was a work event," he said. "With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them," said Mr Johnson.

“I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies."

The prime minister's press secretary claims that Mr Johnson was not sent an invitation to the event.

The email was sent from the prime minister's principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, encouraging staff to "bring your own booze" to the garden and "make the most of the lovely weather".

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