Bristol woman forced to speak to dying mum on Skype slams PM following Sue Gray report

  • Warning: Marina Jenkins' report contains video calls between Jane and Rita which some may find distressing

A woman who was banned from visiting her dying mother during the first coronavirus lockdown has slammed Boris Johnson amid the release of Sue Gray's report.

Jane Smith could not visit her mother Rita in a care home for months and watched her deteriorate through 20 minute video calls every two weeks. She died in May last year.

Jane has shared a heartbreaking lockdown Skype call to dying mother as Government officials "partied".

Downing Street staff were caught at a garden party in the same month as the call was recorded.

In a report released today (January 31), Sue Gray condemned a "serious failure" in Downing Street to observe Covid standards and said "a number" of gatherings should not have been allowed to take place.

  • Moment Jane speaks to her dying mother via Skype (warning: some may find this footage distressing)

The civil servant also said there were "failures of leadership and judgment", adding the Downing Street garden was "used for gatherings without clear authorisation or oversight" and "this was not appropriate".

She continued the parties investigated represent "a serious failure to observe... the standards expected of the entire British population at the time".

"He should have resigned"

Jane Smith told ITV News: "I don't think I've got words to describe how angry I feel with the behaviour of Boris Johnson.

"He's responsible, he's the Prime Minister. He hasn't looked after people in care homes, the most vulnerable in our society.

"He should have resigned a long time ago, when this first came out.

"Other people have had prison sentences or they've had fines placed on them for breaching rules. He should resign."

Jane started a campaign called Unlock Care Homes to help others in the same position she was in. Credit: Jane Smith

Visiting rules varied from one care home to another in June 2020, as each were left to interpret government guidance.

Jane Smith said: "Right at the very beginning, you accepted it, because everyone was in lockdown.

"But come June, July, when people were coming out of lockdown, all we'd been able to have up to then, was phone calls. For somebody with dementia, they're not used to that type of communication.

"Nobody cared about me and my mum. They just wanted to protect her from Covid. Okay, she got protected from Covid, but at what cost?"

Before the pandemic, Jane said her mother was walking, talking, and happy but by September 2020 she was bedridden. She died in May last year. 

Jane told ITV News: "To see her in such distress was awful. They think they've been abandoned, forgotten.

"So many of them stopped eating, stopped sleeping, stopped drinking and they died. And their relatives didn't see them and weren't with them when they died. It's been atrocious.

"It's been one of the biggest human rights atrocities this country has ever been witness too."

The PM today said he is "sorry for the things we simply didn't get right and also sorry for the way that this matter has been handled".

Many Tory MPs have said they are reserving judgement on whether to remove the PM from office over his involvement in so-called partygate until Ms Gray's report was published.

But the PM's day of reckoning may have to wait, with any details referring to potential criminality withheld from the report until at the earliest, when the Metropolitan Police investigation concludes.