I’ll never forgive Boris Johnson for my lockdown baby heartbreak and his hypocrisy – Laura Collins

NEXT week should have been a very special milestone – it should have been my baby’s first birthday.

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure over Downing Street's party and staff gatherings during lockdown.
Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure over Downing Street's party and staff gatherings during lockdown.

With the impending excitement I should have been planning to buy a cake, looking for colourful balloons to decorate our house and inviting close family around to celebrate the moment.

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Over the 12 months that led up to this, we should have been attending all the classes that any new parent would sign up to.

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure over Downing Street's party and staff gatherings during lockdown.

Baby sensory, baby massage – you name it, I would have probably signed up for all of them.

My husband and I should have been basking in the glory of being new parents, cooing over every little smile, laugh and first step.

Instead, sadly, for us this just wasn’t meant to be.

While Number 10 Downing Street 
was busy hosting alleged lockdown parties, I was struggling to come to 
terms with a second heartbreaking miscarriage.

All I wanted to do was to go and see my mum for a hug and get that desperate reassurance that everything was going to be okay.

I couldn’t – we were in lockdown.

I just needed to see my best friend for a shoulder to cry on.

I couldn’t – we were repeatedly told that we had to follow the rules that were set out for all of us, without exception.

Rules were rules.

I was left feeling isolated, alone and unable to come to terms with what had just happened to me as my dreams were flushed away.

Meanwhile, those who should know better, including the Prime Minister himself, were gathering in the garden at a time when the rest of the country were making their own personal sacrifices to protect other people.

The Prime Minister insisted he believed it had been a “work event” and Downing Street said he had never been sent an email encouraging staff to bring a bottle and “make the most of the lovely weather”.

But his apology – or lack thereof – as his words at Prime Minister’s Questions a week ago continue to be dissected in the wake of new incendiary claims, from Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings, that Parliament was deliberately misled, brings little comfort to so many of us who have had to endure the heartbreak of hardship during lockdown.

There is a real sense of growing public anger as more revelations work their way out of the woodwork – including Kate Josephs, the then head of the Covid taskforce, holding leaving drinks in the Cabinet Office on December 17, 2020, before stepping down to take up her current role as Sheffield City Council’s chief executive.

As if that wasn’t enough, Downing Street was forced to apologise to Buckingham Palace after it emerged parties were held in Number 10 the day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.

It is hard to forget that haunting image of the Queen sitting in solitude – away from the rest of her family – as she said a final farewell to her husband and companion of more than 70 years.

Descriptions of staff drinking and dancing into the night jarred with images of the monarch mourning her husband alone, a week after his death in April 2021. Duty bound and following the rules like everyone else – well unless you’re in Downing Street it would appear.

There is only so long that the apologies can continue and, truth be told, the damage has already been done.

How can the Government even expect to have any confidence in the public if, heaven forbid, it should ever have to implement any additional Covid rules again? The breakdown of trust is so irreparable that the party is surely over for Boris Johnson.

Now we need to get on with putting a new Prime Minister in place who can focus on the country’s priorities, such as the economy, and calling last orders on Downing Street’s truly disgraceful and shameful drinking culture which has brought the whole Government into such disrepute.

Laura Collins is editor of the 
Yorkshire Evening Post.

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