No10 Christmas 'party': Grieving son whose father died alone calls for Boris Johnson to resign

Bob Kelleher died at the age of 88 in January 2021
Copyright: Family photo
Bob Kelleher died at the age of 88 in January 2021 Credit: Family photo

A son whose father died alone after being taken into hospital on the day of the alleged Downing Street Christmas party said he had been "crushed" by details emerging this week - and called on Boris Johnson to resign.

Bob Kelleher, 88, was admitted on 18 December last year and died on January 10, without seeing a member of his family in person again.

His son Rob said he and family, including his 85-year-old mother Maureen were reliving it all over again because of the news about activities in 10 Downing Street.

Mr Kelleher, 65, said: “It was the date that triggered all of this because in our mind that is the very last day anybody’s seen my dad.

“My mam is sitting at home not watching the telly or even having the radio on because she just can’t deal with this.”

Bob Kelleher pictured with his wife Maureen Credit: Family photo

After going into hospital, Bob Kelleher, from South Shields, was only able to communicate with family by phone or on Zoom.

It was described as a "worrying" time by his son, who lives in Barroway Drove in Norfolk. He said he was "upset" about not being able to see his mother or get together with family to talk about the situation.

His father deteriorated in January, as Covid began to affect him more severely.

“We weren’t allowed to go to the hospital but in these talks you could hear him sort of fading away, really, and it was so upsetting,” his son said.

“I was stuck down here with my wife and we so wanted to just jump in the car, and then we thought ‘well, will the police stop us? What will happen when we get to my mam’s?’

“But we stuck by the rules and it was so hard.”

Rob Kelleher, pictured right with his parents, said he had wanted to visit his father in hospital but was afraid of police action Credit: Family photo

He said the stories emerging this week of a Christmas party at Downing Street had left him “crushed”, adding: “I just feel so lost and angry.

“All through last Christmas and going through the lockdown there were stories of parties – not 10 Downing Street parties, but students having parties and getting fined £10,000 and neighbours phoning the police on neighbours.

“As we were grieving it was making us angry that people were being so stupid – and then we find out now that the government was complicit in all this and they were having their little parties.”

He called on Boris Johnson to resign, saying: “I would just tell him to go.”

Mr Kelleher said this week’s news, along with the unsettling effect of Storm Arwen, had been a shock to his mother, who had only just begun to get back to normal after “doing her own lockdown”.

He said: “We were gradually bringing her out of all this.

“She was looking forward to planning Christmas and doing some Christmas shopping and getting people presents again.

“Then just this last week she’s just been so upset about it all again.”

Mr Johnson said on Wednesday: “I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken.”