NI bereaved families add weight to politicians’ calls for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign

Some Northern Ireland politicians have renewed their calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, along with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, after confirmation that both will receive fixed penalty notices for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions.

By Graeme Cousins
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 8:20 pm
Martina Ferguson attended a London event at the end of March at the National Covid Memorial Wall
Martina Ferguson attended a London event at the end of March at the National Covid Memorial Wall

Meanwhile, a group of NI families who were bereaved during Covid, has asked how they can go on leading the country after breaking the law.

Martina Ferguson, one of the Northern Ireland spokespeople for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “It’s totally disrespectful to bereaved families and people across the country that followed the rules and regulations. They broke the law. How can they continue to lead the country now?”

Martina, whose mother Ursula Derry died in January from Covid, said: “I was grieving the loss of my mummy even when she was alive – I was locked out of the care home and wasn’t able to have any meaningful contact for nine months.

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She added: “Thousands of families’ loved ones went from the morgue to the graveside with no proper funerals or goodbyes. This is heartbreaking and continues to be heartbreaking for many.

Commenting on the fines issued, Martina said: “The prime minister and his chancellor have repeatedly lied and misled the public – this is utterly shameful.

“They should do the right thing – they should resign from public office with immediate effect. Their low moral standing and deceitfulness has caused irreparable hurt and damage to all the bereaved families.”

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood renewed his resignation calls, saying: “The very least that the public should expect from political leaders is that they abide by the law. But it is now clear that even the lowest standards are far too high for Boris Johnson and his administration.”

He continued: “At a moment of deep personal sacrifice for many, they demonstrated cynical selfishness that makes a mockery of the lengths we all went to in order to keep our friends and neighbours safe.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak made the rules. There is not, and cannot be, any justification for their flagrant disregard for the restrictions they made others abide by. Both must now resign.”

Alliance MP Stephen Farry also demanded resignations. He said: “They set the rules and then subsequently broke them, at a time when they were asking everybody else to make huge sacrifices – missing births, funerals and basic human social interactions. The flippant nature of their responses since then has only compounded the hurt felt by many.”

Loyalist activist Moore Holmes used the occasion to draw comparison to NI’s attempts to hold politicians to account for breaking Covid rules: “Boris Johnson’s position is untenable in the same way Michelle O’Neil’s position (and other SF members) was untenable after Bobby Storey’s funeral.

“Hopefully the public in Great Britain will have more success keeping their politicians to account than we have.”