Mother who laid toddler to rest without family says she does not believe PM's apology

A mother who had to say goodbye to her two-year-old son without his twin or other family has said she does not believe the Prime Minister’s apology for attending a Downing Street Party is genuine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to resign by senior Conservatives after he admitted to attending a lockdown-breaking party in May 2020.

The Prime Minister apologised for attending the event and said he regretted it "very much", but defended himself by claiming he thought it was a work event.

He has come under much scrutiny, including in those homes hurt by that drinks party during lockdown.

In March 2020, Stephanie Herfield's sons Elijah and Weston had just turned two years old.

"Elijah was gentle, he was kind, he loved to cuddle, he loved snuggles," Stephanie told UTV News. "He was a twin, so they were always together."

Little Elijah died after suffering a cardiac arrest in March 2020.

It was on 15 March that tragedy struck the family.

"When I woke up it was nine o'clock, so i thought to myself, the twins are really sleeping late but unfortunately when I went in, Elijah, during the night he had gotten stuck between the bed and the wall.

"So when I found him that morning at nine o'clock, he was in cardiac arrest.

"I say to everybody I died that day."

Stephanie's worst nightmare was compounded by tight Covid restrictions and the fact she and her husband had to say goodbye to Elijah alone.

"It's lonely. You look around you and that's the time where a friend, just squeezing your hand or putting their arm around you, or somebody giving you a hug and telling you it's going to be ok," she said.

"You can still say that on the phone, text and Facebook and all that but it doesn't substitute for that human contact that's desperately needed in that time of grief and loss.

"I can't go back and have a funeral, with his white casket and flowers, I can't go back and do that so I'll never get that moment back."

The revelations about goings on at Number 10 have hurt her deeply.

"That was the worst point in my life, and I think it would be the worst point in any parent's life, and I know our Prime Minister as a parent can understand, or at least empathise with that grief and that loss.

"In the worst time of my life when they can sit there and all get together but I couldn't even have my whole entire family? I couldn't even have his twin at the crematorium. It's a slap in the face."

The Prime Minister said he thought the party was a work event and he 'regretted' that things had not been done differently.

Ms Herfield feels that an apology from the Prime Minister is not enough.

“To say the word sorry is not being sorry," she said.

“You have to be squeaky clean. If you're asking all these other people to follow rules, you should be doing them as well and I just hope this gets through to them and they really understand the hurt and honestly, the mistrust almost that has formed because of being frustrated and angry at what's come out."