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Man who stood in rain to see sick father for last time ‘devastated’ and ‘angry’ over Downing Street Christmas party

A man who stood in the rain as he saw his sick father for the last time has said he is “devastated” and “very angry” that he followed lockdown rules while Downing Street staff held a Christmas party.

Ron Peck told Sky News how his father had called him “to tell me his cancer and his heart condition meant it would probably be his last Christmas”.

“Unfortunately we live about 110 miles away, so we drove and met in the rain on the front door and exchanged gifts,” said Mr Peck, a retired teacher.

He said the situation was especially upsetting as his mother has late-stage dementia and “had no idea what was going on”.

“That was the last time I saw him, and sadly he passed away in March,” Mr Peck told Sky News.

He added that he also followed lockdown rules when he cremated his father, with only half a dozen people present.

The Downing Street party was on 18 December, two days after Tier 3 rules began in London – meaning people were not allowed to mix indoors with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

But sources say around 40 people were at the event, with staff reportedly encouraged to bring “Secret Santa” presents.

The prime minister has apologised and said he was “furious” to have learned of the event.

‘Pretty obvious there’s one rule for them’

Mr Peck said: “It’s just appalling. I don’t think people in power really understand what it’s like for people who kept all the rules.”

He said he had not managed to sleep for four or five days because of the situation and also criticised the video of senior Downing Street staff joking about holding a Christmas party.

Mr Peck said it was “pretty obvious there’s one rule for them and a different rule for everybody else”.

‘They have lied and they’re still lying – I feel absolute, pure hatred’

Fran Hall’s husband, Steve, died with COVID in October 2020.

She said the “sneering, sniggering and joking” on the footage was “just outrageous”.

Fran added: “I couldn’t believe what I was watching. That they then worked out how they would be able to cover up if they were asked that question – and they have kept it covered.

“And they have lied and lied and they’re still lying. I feel absolute, pure hatred. And rage.

“It seems that there are people at the top of our government who feel that they don’t have to follow the rules that they set for us.”

‘Deep, deep sense of betrayal’

Lobby Akinnola’s 60-year-old father died in April last year. She said it was “hard to put into words the feeling of betrayal and hurt” over the Christmas party at No 10.

He feels a “deep, deep sense of betrayal” and called for there to be “accountability”.

“Because I stayed at my house and followed the rules, it meant I never saw my father alive again,” he said.

“The prime minister needs to acknowledge the pain that’s been caused [and] give a genuine, heartfelt apology.”

‘We are tired of Boris Johnson’s lies’

Jean Adamson lost her father in April last year after he contracted COVID in a care home.

Reacting to the reports of a Christmas party in Downing Street, she said: “We had to watch our loved ones dying on their own without a hand to hold, without any comfort.”

She said it was “despicable” that government officials appeared to be “flouting the rules that they make”.

Ms Adamson laid the blame at the door of Boris Johnson, saying: “It’s happened on his watch and he has to be held accountable for what happened in 10 Downing Street, whether he was there or not.

“Why does he always have to be dragged screaming and kicking before he will tell the truth?

“We need the truth. We are tired of his lies.”

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