COVID-19: Bereaved families to meet Boris Johnson in Downing Street

Families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus are set to meet Boris Johnson in Downing Street, where they will press him to “immediately” begin a public inquiry into his government’s handling of the pandemic.

Members of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group will hold talks with the prime minister in Number 10 on Tuesday, more than a year after Mr Johnson promised to do so.

They are expected to tell him the stories of how their loved ones caught COVID and lost their lives, and reiterate their demand that the PM brings forward the start date of the promised public inquiry.

The families have asked for the meeting to be held outside, with social distancing in place.

Sky News has contacted Downing Street for comment.

Jo Goodman, co-founder of the group and one of those who will be going to Number 10, said: “It has been over a year since the prime minister first said he would meet us and in that time over 100,000 people across the country have lost their lives with COVID-19.

“One of the hardest parts of the pandemic for us has been seeing new families join each week with the same pain and grief that we’ve experienced and distressingly similar stories to our own.”

Government data shows that since the pandemic began, more than 136,000 people have died with COVID-19.

That number rises to more than 158,000 when considering all those mentioning COVID-19 on the death certificate.

Ms Goodman, whose father Stuart, 72, was one of those who died, added: “We first called for a rapid review last summer so that lessons could be learnt from the deaths of our loved ones to protect others, and we can’t help but feel that if we’d been listened to then, other lives might have been spared.

“We hope that the prime minister will listen to us tomorrow, and start the process to begin the inquiry immediately, whilst ensuring that the perspective of bereaved families is at its heart.

“Most of all, we hope that by sharing our stories, we can help to protect other families from the suffering and tragedy that we’ve been through.”

Members of the group are also set to attend the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, which begins this weekend.

Their application was initially rejected, but Sky News understands this was an error that was changed once it was reviewed.

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