Bradford woman attended mother's funeral behind barricades on day of Number 10 party

  • Video report by Lisa Adlam


A woman from Bradford has spoken of her "disgust" after it emerged that dozens of people attended a party at Downing Street on the same day she was forced to stand behind barricades at her mother's funeral.

Maxine Elliott's mother Barbara died from dementia while the country was in the middle of the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

Rules in place at the time meant that a limited number of mourners were allowed to attend the funeral, which took place on May 20. Those who did had to maintain a social distance.

Mrs Elliott said: "We had the funeral on the 20th – on the day Boris Johnson was having his party."

She said the family held a service in a chapel before attending a crematorium.

"We were barricaded off," she said. "We couldn't even be next to each other. We had to have two yards between each other, so that was heartbreaking.

"At a funeral you would normally go up to the coffin, you'd touch it or put a flower on it and say goodbye and we couldn't even do that. It was awful.

"Even after the funeral we had to go home separately. I had to have a drink to my mother in my garden with my daughter and son. The rest of the family they did what they had to do.

"It's something I won't ever forget."

But on the day of the funeral, staff had been invited to a drinks party in the Number 10 garden to "make the most of the lovely weather".

An email shared exclusively with ITV News provides the first evidence of a party, when the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors.

Around 40 people are thought to have attended.

Mrs Elliott said: "When I saw the date it brought it all back. I just thought, 'How dare you?' It was disgusting.

"Really maddening. I'm a support worker, so I'm keeping my clients safe as well. It's terrible."

Today, Mrs Elliott's MP Naz Shah raised her case in the House of Commons and demanded an apology for what had happened to her.

Addressing the Paymaster General Michael Ellis, who was given the job of answering questions for the Prime Minister, Ms Shah said: "What does the minister have to say to Maxine Elliott and will the minister ask the Prime Minister himself to personally apologise?"

Mr Ellis didn't answer the question directly, but said: "I cannot begin to imagine the personal tragedy and loss that she describes... All I can say is that my heart goes out to them for their loss."

Mrs Elliott said she was planning another wake for her mother "at the right time".

She added: "You can't forget about it."