'They're not happy memories. He's robbed me of that'
A daughter who couldn't celebrate her mother's 90th birthday with her during the Covid lockdown has accused Boris Johnson of "robbing" her of "happy memories", after ITV News revealed an alleged birthday party was held for the prime minister in June 2020.
Jacqui Steel and family wished her mother, Emily, a happy birthday over video call due to Covid rules around care home visiting.
Emily has dementia and it was the last birthday she was aware of.
Of the Prime Minister, Ms Steel said: "He's got memories of his birthday, my memories are on there [her mobile].
"I just cry every time I watch them. That's my memories of my mum... They're not happy memories. He's robbed me of that. And he's still prime minister."
Those who stuck to the rules share their anger over the latest Downing Street allegations, reports ITV News Wales and West of England Correspondent Rupert Evelyn
In the latest revelation in the "party gate scandal", ITV News understands that the prime minister had a birthday party on June 19, 2020, during the first national lockdown when rules forbade social gatherings indoors.
It is alleged that up to 30 people attended the surprise bash in the Cabinet Room, partly organised by Mr Johnson's wife Carrie.
Mrs Johnson is said to have led staff in a chorus of happy birthday while carrying a birthday cake to lay on the Cabinet Room table full of M&S food, before family friends were hosted upstairs in the PM's residence.
No 10 have denied this, claiming the prime minister only hosted a small number of family members outside and that he only attended the Cabinet Room bash for 10 minutes.
Watch ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand's report in full
A Number 10 spokesperson said: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”
But since ITV News shared the story, hundreds of people have shared their grief and anger, describing the heartbreaking stories of what they were going through while sticking to the rules.
Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice called the latest allegations "completely sickening" and said "though we’re not even surprised anymore, it still brings fresh pain".
Jo Goodman, co-founder of the campaign group, said: “Like thousands of others, I remember June 19th vividly.
“It was the day before what would have been my dad’s 73rd birthday, shortly after he had passed away from Covid-19. It was a horrible time for my family, but we stuck to the rules, not even being able to hug to comfort each other."
Ms Goodman added: "Whilst dozens sang happy birthday to him [the PM], families couldn’t even sing in memory at their loved ones funerals.
“Regardless of any report, the Prime Minister clearly needs to resign. He’s lost all credibility.
“Every day and every fresh scandal pours salt on the wounds of the hundreds of thousands who have lost loved ones. If he had any decency he would do what we and the country is calling for him to do and go.”
John Nichols, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, said his "lonely" mother died shortly after her birthday which they "celebrated" over FaceTime in June 2020.
He wrote on Twitter: "I hadn’t been able to see her for many weeks. She was very lonely. But we agreed we should follow the rules. I can’t express how much I despise this cruel charlatan and his acolytes."
Just three months before the alleged gathering, the prime minister shared a handwritten letter received from a seven-year-old girl named Josephine who wanted to let him know she was staying at home on her birthday "because you asked us to".
"I think mummy and daddy might have to cancel my party but I don't mind because I want everybody to be ok," the letter continued.
"Please keep working hard to keep us all well. Are you remembering to wash your hands?"
She signed it "lots of love Josephine aged 7 (today)".
The prime minister tweeted a picture of his letter replying to the little girl, writing: "Josephine sets a great example to us all by postponing her birthday party until we have sent coronavirus packing."Together we can beat this. In the meantime let's all wish her happy birthday (twice) whilst washing our hands. #BeLikeJosephine #StayHomeSaveLives".
The tweet has resurfaced following our reporting.
Others shared stories of the sacrifices they made on the day of the PM's birthday party.
Responding to the ITV News revelations, Jill Reeves said the lockdown birthday party made her "blood boil" as June 19 was the day her daughter was looking so forward to after missing out on her 6th birthday due to a battle with cancer.
But her daughter was again unable to celebrate her 7th birthday with friends as she was abiding by the curbs set by the government.
Journalist Ian Cobain, who shares a birthday with Mr Johnson, said he did not celebrate his 60th at all because of the Covid restrictions in place at the time.
Also posting on Twitter, Norrie MacQueen said that a few weeks before the PM's party, he simply went for a walk with his wife to celebrate his 70th birthday- something he felt guilt over.