Does Matt Hancock have no shame? I stuck to the rules and couldn't hug my sick father before he died

DOES Matt Hancock have no shame?

Like thousands of others who have lost relatives in this ghastly 16 months of pandemic, I’m still in mourning.

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So I was disgusted to see the Health Secretary on the front of The Sun in a clinch with his lover.

I’m furious that Hancock broke social-distancing guidelines. It shows those who make the rules are happy to break them.

I’m one of those people who abided by those rules Matt Hancock helped put in place.

It meant I couldn’t see or hug my father Anthony as he faced his final hours in hospital.

And then when it came to honouring him at his funeral, only ten people could be present.

Although he died just over a year ago, we still haven’t been able to hold a wake. I still haven’t had closure.

We just miss him terribly. He’s left a very big hole in our lives. I felt awful that I couldn’t see my father in his final days in hospital.

My dad was a big hugger. When his birthday or Christmas came around, I’d say: “What do you want as a present?” He’d say: “A hug.”

I stuck to the rules. I couldn’t hug my sick father. I couldn’t visit him in hospital. We couldn’t even hold a proper funeral for him. So how dare you Mr Hancock.

But because of the rules Mr Hancock put in place, I couldn’t hug my dad at the time he needed it most.

Dad was a retired plumber and courier who was quite a character. He was a joker and liked to wind people up.

He loved music, he was always singing, or we would have a little dance in the kitchen.

He was just fun to be around, he was always laughing about something. He was a good man.

In April 2020, Dad fell out of bed and hurt himself.

An ambulance was called and because his blood pressure was low he was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

He was found to be suffering from dementia and, while in hospital, caught Covid.

We begged to come in and see him, saying we would wear masks, but were told: “No visitors at all.”

We were limited to phone calls, which was very difficult because it was often so busy you couldn’t get through.

Every time we spoke to him he was really upset and tearful. It was heartbreaking for me and my sister Samantha.

I felt like if he had familiar faces, had his girls around him, it might have improved his wellbeing.

Dad beat Covid, testing negative for the virus. After three weeks, he was transferred to another hospital that specialises in dementia.

But he got very poorly, deteriorated quite quickly and was taken back to the Royal Berks.

Again, we weren’t allowed to see him. It was the first lockdown and no visitors were allowed.

He turned 75 on May 15 last year and died from heart failure two days later.

I feel so sad that he was on his own and surrounded by people he didn’t know.

I don’t know how we got through it. It’s hard anyway to lose somebody, especially a parent. In these circumstances, it was horrific.

Then came the socially distanced funeral with just ten people. We all had to sit apart. It was devastating.

And, please note, Mr Hancock — we obeyed the rules about not hugging those we weren’t in a bubble with, although we desperately needed to comfort one another.

I felt like it should have been a packed hall, for everyone to be able to pay their respects to Dad.

We’re still waiting to hold the wake and we haven’t yet scattered his ashes.

Then as we’re waiting for Covid rules to be relaxed, along come these pictures of Matt Hancock not maintaining social-distancing with his aide.

I’m so angry. How can you tell everyone else to social- distance and then not do it yourself?

I know he has a very difficult job, at an unprecedented time. But how can he expect people to obey Covid rules now, while knowing that he clearly hasn’t.

And remember when he was caught out, it was hardly a life-or-death situation.

If he hasn’t got the decency to resign, then Boris Johnson should sack him immediately.

In memory of my dad Anthony — and thousands of others like him who died alone — it’s the decent thing to do.

– Interview by Oliver Harvey

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