Sue Gray report: Hull woman tells how she chose 10 people to attend her wife's funeral on same day of Downing Street party

On May 20 2020, up to 40 people gathered in the garden of 10 Downing Street for a drinks party. Days later, according to Sue Gray’s report, Martin Reynolds, a senior civil servant, congratulated another colleague via WhatsApp saying “we seem to have got away with it”.

That same day, Hull woman Jayne Taylor-Broadbent was deciding which of 10 her friends and family could attend the funeral of her beloved wife, Julie, who had died of covid earlier that month in Hull Royal Infirmary.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post yesterday, Mrs Taylor-Broadbent, 56, said: “It’s appalling. Boris Johnson is trying to offload the blame, but he’s the leader. It happened in his residence.

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“I was trying to arrange a funeral which was half an hour long. I had to choose 10 people who could attend it. And we couldn’t meet up afterwards. I had half an hour to say goodbye to the person I love the most in the world. And yet Boris Johnson was sat sunning himself in his garden when he should have been leading the country.

Hull woman Julie Taylor-Broadbent died of covid in May 2020

“For me, it’s a rotten government, led by a rotten, lying leader.

“Myself and Julie followed the rules, and she paid the ultimate price. She died - but we still followed them.

“It’s been two years but to me it happened yesterday. Until I get answers, until this Government starts caring about the general population and realises what we have lost. Julie has been disregarded.”

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Sue Dawson, 57, lost her mother in July 2020 after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She died in St Gemma’s Hospice, and visits were limited due to the pandemic, with Mrs Dawson only allowed to spend two hours a day with her.

“My mum’s final months were the most horrendous experience for me and my siblings, because of covid,” she said.

“St Gemma’s was the most amazing place, but my mum was so lonely.

“She had four children - they couldn’t all visit and I understood why.”

But Mrs Dawson, who lives near Leeds, was pragmatic yesterday following the findings of Sue Gray’s report, and said she believed it was “time to move on” and focus on the cost of living crisis.

She said: “I think maybe I’d feel differently if I wasn’t able to see my mum, but I was.

"If they had drinks at the end of the working day, well to some extent I do think ‘shame on them’, they weren’t in the real world with what other people suffering - but if that’s what got them through their working day, it’s two years ago now, is that really what we should be talking about?

“There’s other things to be really angry about now. Things like Putin and what’s happening to Ukraine.

“And I’m angry that all the spotlight is on drinks. Now we need to talk about fuel costs and the need to help people feed their families.

“That’s what parliament should be concentrating on - it’s time to move on.”