Bereaved daughter shuns Boris apology

“They did not care. They have never cared. They only care about themselves, and particularly the prime minister only cares about what he can get away with. Until he is caught out, he won’t admit anything.”

Edward Oldfield www.devonlive.com 

A daughter whose father died in a care home early in the pandemic has refused to accept the Prime Minister’s apology over the Downing Street lockdown party.

Dr Cathy Gardner, from Sidmouth, is challenging the government’s handling of the pandemic, arguing that it failed to protect care home residents.

Dr Gardner’s father Michael Gibson died aged 88 in April 2020. His death certificate says the cause was “probable Covid” as he had not been tested.

At that time, elderly patients were sent into care homes from hospital without being tested, leading to thousands of deaths.

Dr Gardner said she had watched Boris Johnson’s statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday lunchtime.

The East Devon councillor said: “I don’t accept an apology from him. That does not go anywhere near far enough.

“Doing something that he knew was wrong – they all did – at such a point in the pandemic, is indefensible.

“I do not accept an apology, he should be held to account for breaking the law, and whatever rules were in force at the time.

“He would not have said anything about it at all if he had not been caught.

“They did not care. They have never cared. They only care about themselves, and particularly the prime minister only cares about what he can get away with. Until he is caught out, he won’t admit anything.

“It is just another reminder, if another was needed, it is one rule for us, and another for them – or no rules for them.

“How they could actually do that, and not think, ‘Hold on, we have just been telling people not to do this’, beggars belief, it really does.”

Dr Gardner’s challenge in the High Court is listed to be heard over six days in mid-March.

She is bringing the judicial review alongside Fay Harris, whose father also died with Covid-19 in a care home.

They argue certain key government policies and decisions led to a “shocking death toll” of more than 20,000 care home residents from Covid between March and June 2020.

These include a policy of discharging around 25,000 patients from hospital into care homes – including the homes of the claimants’ fathers – without testing and proper isolation.

The prime minister apologised in the House of Commons for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10.

He acknowledged the public “rage” over the incident but insisted he believed it was a “work event”.