Sir Keir Starmer savages Boris over leukaemia victim

Sir Keir Starmer savages Boris over leukaemia victim whose family slammed Matt Hancock for breaking Covid rules after they were stopped from visiting their son in hospital before he died

  • Ollie Bibby, 27, died of leukaemia at University College London Hospital on May 5
  • Sir Keir Starmer described case to Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions
  • Mr Johnson responded by accusing Sir Keir of focusing on ‘Westminster Bubble’ 

Sir Keir Starmer has savaged Boris Johnson over a leukaemia victim whose family slammed Matt Hancock for breaking Covid rules the same week their son died.

Ollie Bibby, 27, died of leukaemia on May 5, the day before the former health secretary Matt Hancock was pictured kissing his aide in his central London office.

Sir Keir described the case in the first Prime Minister’s Questions since Mr Hancock resigned and asked why Mr Johnson did not sack him, instead allowing him to resign two days later.

The Labour leader told Mr Johnson Mr Bibby’s mother Penny was ‘livid’ she had not been able to see her son in the days before his death, while ‘the man who made the rules’ failed to follow them. 

Ollie Bibby (pictured), 27, died of leukaemia on May 5, the day before the former health secretary Matt Hancock was pictured kissing his aide in his central London office

Mr Johnson then accused Sir Keir of focusing on the ‘Westminster bubble’, a response Mrs Bibby told the BBC left her feeling ‘dismissed’.

She said: ‘Boris Johnson just dismissed the question, he avoided answering it entirely, which made us feel like we’re not important.’ 

Sir Keir said: ‘Ollie died, like so many other people in this pandemic, with his family and friends unable to spend time with him. 

‘When he was in hospital he begged to see his family, but following the rules only one member of his family was allowed to see him.’

Mr Johnson responded by saying he shared ‘the grief and pain of Ollie and his family’ and ‘that is why we had a change of health secretary the day after the story appeared’.

Boris Johnson then accused Sir Keir Starmer of focusing on the ‘Westminister bubble’, a response Mr Bibby’s mother Penny told the BBC left her feeling ‘dismissed’

He added: ‘That is why actually what we are doing as a Government instead of focusing on stuff that is going on within the Westminster bubble we are focusing on rolling out that vaccine at a rate that will make sure people like Ollie and his family do not have to suffer in the future.’

Sir Keir (pictured) described the case in Prime Minister’s Questions

Mrs Bibby said the Prime Minister was ‘going on about vaccinations’ without offering any hope to families whose loved ones were alone on their death beds.  

Sir Keir said it was not ‘appropriate’ for Boris Johnson to refer to the ‘Westminster bubble’ in response to the case of Mr Bibby, adding: ‘Before Prime Minister’s Questions this morning I spoke to Ollie’s mum about the awful circumstances she and her family have been through.

‘She told me Prime Minister that every day she watched the press conferences and she hung onto every word that Government ministers said so she would know what her family could and couldn’t do, and then they followed the rules. This is not the Westminster bubble.

‘She told me that for her and her family this case isn’t closed and she speaks for millions of people. I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw that when he gets up, it’s the wrong response to Ollie’s case.

Mr Hancock rang his wife Martha last Thursday night to tell her their 15-year marriage was over after he was caught on CCTV kissing Miss Coladangelo (pictured), a university friend who he appointed as a non-executive director at the Department of Health 

‘I can’t help concluding that the Prime Minister didn’t ask relevant questions on Friday morning either because he didn’t want to know the answers or he knows full well there’s more to come out.’

Sir Keir said Mr Johnson ‘muttered nonsense’ to this suggestion, with the Prime Minister adding: ‘We have a new Health Secretary in place and have had one since the day after the stories appeared and that was entirely right and the right response to the situation.’

Mr Johnson said the Government is aiming to ‘get on’ with the rollout of the vaccines, adding: ‘To allow the people of this country to work forwards towards freedom day, which I devoutly hope will come on July 19.’

Mr Bibby, from South Benfleet in Essex, had begged to be allowed to see his family in the weeks before his death.

He had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, in 2016, and was in remission before in returned in 2020.

Sir Keir told Mr Johnson Mr Bibby’s mother Penny (pictured with her son Ollie) was ‘livid’ she had not been able to see her son in the days before his death, while ‘the man who made the rules’ failed to follow them

He needed a bone marrow transplant and in March was admitted to University College London Hospital (UCLH), where he stayed for seven weeks until he died. 

He was left in a room on his own with only one visitor a week, suffered from anxiety and depression and ‘felt like he was being punished for being ill’, his family said.

The family have been left traumatised after security guards were aggressive and nurses questioned Mr Bibby’s parents’ right to be with their son as he lay dying. 

And Mr Bibby’s brothers were only able to see him twice in the seven weeks he was there.

A spokesperson for UCLH said it would like to offer the family ‘our sincere condolences’.

‘We are confident that Ollie received appropriate care and treatment and that regular visits were allowed in line with hospital guidance.’ 

Mr Hancock rang his wife Martha last Thursday night to tell her their 15-year marriage was over after he was caught on CCTV kissing Miss Coladangelo, a university friend who he appointed as a non-executive director at the Department of Health.

The couple have three young children and Mr Hancock is said to be determined to maintain a strong bond with them as he builds a new life with Miss Coladangelo, who has three children of her own with Oliver Tress, founder of fashion and homeware firm Oliver Bonas.

‘He blames himself for everything – this is no-one else’s fault,’ a friend said. ‘For now, his children are his priority and he is going to take some time away’

Mr Hancock tried to cling to his job last Friday, when he was backed to stay by Mr Johnson.

But he changed his mind after taking counsel from senior Conservatives, including his mentor George Osborne, who warned that his departure was inevitable and that prolonging it would end his political career.

Accepting his resignation on Saturday, the Prime Minister left the door open to a return, telling him: ‘I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to public service is far from over.’

Security officials at the Department of Health are investigating why a CCTV camera was installed in Mr Hancock’s office and how footage came to be leaked to the media.  

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