Great Britain

Families bereaved by Covid told they can attend Conservative Party Conference after U-turn

A group of families bereaved by coronavirus will be allowed to attend the upcoming Conservative Party Conference after a U-turn.

The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group were initially told that their application to attend to the conference had been rejected without explanation.

But the group will now be allowed to attend the conference, at which charities, trade unions and campaign groups are given the opportunity to meet MPs, after being told their initial rejection was an error.

“Funny that the error wasn’t spotted when we initially asked for an explanation for the decision, and only when the news broke in the media,” Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice wrote on Twitter.

They went on to describe the initial decision, which they received from the Conservative Party Chairman’s Office six weeks after their application, as “disgraceful”.

The Conservative Party did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

The group, which is the largest represented families bereaved by the virus in the UK, has repeatedly tried to secure a meeting with government officials but has not yet met a single Conservative minister.

In September last year, the prime minister said that he would “meet anybody” that is “bereaved” because of the virus after being asked during a TV interview about letters the group had written to him requesting a meeting.

But he later said that he could not meet with them because they were in litigation with the government, which the group said was a “poor excuse” and “simply not true”.

Mr Johnson has, however, visited the National Covid Memorial Wall which the group created, but did so without meeting any of its members.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice say that they hope attending the conference means that they will be able to work with the government to prevent the tragedies they have faced from happening again.

“The Conservative Party has just U-turned and decided that we can in fact attend their party conference. Their initial decision to disallow bereaved families from attending was disgraceful,” they said.

“And we hope that there is a genuine acknowledgement of that and that they are prepared to work with us.”

The Conservative Party Conference is set to take place in Manchester between 3 and 6 October.

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