Sue Gray: Yorkshire woman slams 'cavalier attitude' of Government in wake of Partygate report

A woman whose father died with Covid-19 has criticised the Government’s “cavalier attitude” towards the rules after Sue Gray’s report was published.

Kathryn de Prudhoe, 47, from Leeds, said her father Tony Clay died alone in hospital in April 2020, while Ms de Prudhoe’s mother had to isolate for 11 days afterwards.

“The rest of the country were able to work out what was and wasn’t allowed and the majority stuck to it. My family certainly did,” Ms de Prudhoe said.

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“My dad died from Covid-19 alone in hospital in April 2020. We had to negotiate the strict public health measures in place whilst dealing with traumatic loss but we did it without breaking any rules.

Kathryn de Prudhoe (left), a psychotherapist from Leeds with her family, she lost her father Tony Clay (back right) to Covid in AprilKathryn de Prudhoe (left), a psychotherapist from Leeds with her family, she lost her father Tony Clay (back right) to Covid in April
Kathryn de Prudhoe (left), a psychotherapist from Leeds with her family, she lost her father Tony Clay (back right) to Covid in April

“My mum isolated for 11 days after losing her husband and we had a 20-minute funeral for five people at the local undertakers.

“If we could do it, the very people making those rules and briefing them to the nation ought to have been able to do it.

“The fact they didn’t leads me to only one conclusion: they thought the rules were for everyone but them and simply didn’t care if their actions risked spreading a virus that kills people. That isn’t leadership.”

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Meanwhile, three new gatherings not previously revealed were included in Sue Gray’s investigations.

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These were a gathering in the Cabinet Office on June 18, 2020, to mark the leaving of a No 10 private secretary, a third gathering on December 17, 2020 – on top of two already reported – to mark the departure of a No 10 official in Downing Street, and a new event on January 14, 2021, also in No 10, when two private secretaries left.

Two previously reported gatherings were not included in her inquiry.

These were drinks held at the Treasury on November 25, 2020 and drinks at the Department for Transport on December 16, 2020.

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On the Treasury drinks, a spokesman said at the time: “We have been made aware that a small number of those staff had impromptu drinks around their desks after the event.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “Fewer than a dozen staff who were working in the office had a low-key, socially distanced gathering in the large open-plan office after work on December 16, where food and drink was consumed.

“We recognise this was inappropriate and apologise for the error of judgment.”

Boris Johnson later told the Commons: "Firstly, I want to say sorry – and I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.

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“It’s no use saying this or that was within the rules and it’s no use saying people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone.”

He faced shouts of 'resign' from opposition MPs, but said: “We asked people across this country to make the most extraordinary sacrifices – not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died, and I understand the anger that people feel.

“But it isn’t enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn.

“While the Metropolitan Police must yet complete their investigation, and that means there are no details of specific events in Sue Gray’s report, I of course accept Sue Gray’s general findings in full, and above all her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now.”