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Minister whose newborn sons died in pandemic criticises No 10 parties | Conservatives

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A minister has said Boris Johnson needs to “change his ways” as he recalled how, in the same month when some in No 10 were “not behaving appropriately”, he was not able to support his children before they died.

Guy Opperman, the pensions minister and MP for Hexham, said Johnson should stay in his post, but was critical of the rule-breaking.

Johnson has continued to face criticism, including from those on his frontbench, after admitting to attending a “bring your own booze” garden party in No 10 on 20 May 2020, which he says he understood to be a “work event”.

Opperman and his wife Flora’s newborn twin boys, Teddy and Rafe, died the following month.

Speaking to BBC’s Politics North programme, the Tory MP said: “I feel pretty emotional about this because in May 2020 my wife and kids were unwell and they went to hospital. I was not able to go there to support them. And I’ve got constituents who couldn’t go to the care homes, to funerals, who were obviously obeying the rules, and quite clearly in No 10 at that time there were a number of people not behaving appropriately. I feel pretty emotional that I wasn’t able to support my wife and kids.”

Another Tory MP, Ian Levy, said he had been unable to see his relative due to the restrictions. The Blyth Valley MP said in a statement online: “My own family was affected by this – unable to see my wife’s mother when she was dying in a nursing home.

“I understand the real anger at reports that those in power were not abiding by the rules. The public deserves better than this.”

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