Campaign demands a stop to ‘inhumane’ funeral restrictions – after plight of grieving families was highlighted by the sight of the Queen sitting alone
- Plight of grieving families highlighted by the sight of the Queen sitting alone
- Religious leaders, charities and MPs called for review into limit of mourners
- Senior Tories led cross-party calls for Government to carry out an urgent review
Religious leaders, charities and MPs last night demanded an end to the ‘inhumane’ restrictions on funerals.
They called for the limit of 30 mourners to be raised to allow more friends and relatives to say farewell to loved ones.
One MP said it was ‘absolutely atrocious’ that the monarch was left by herself as she bid a final farewell to her husband of 73 years, unable to be comforted by family. Mourners must remain socially distanced from anyone outside their household or support bubble at a funeral.
The plight of grieving families was highlighted by the sight of the Queen sitting alone at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on Saturday
Steven Wibberley, chief executive of Cruse Bereavement Care, called for an urgent review of the earliest date that funerals ‘can be opened to more mourners to ensure as many people as possible are able to say goodbye in the way they would have wanted’
Senior Tories led cross-party calls for the Government to carry out an urgent review of limits on numbers, which are set to remain in place until June 21.
They also urged ministers to allow the use of rapid coronavirus testing or vaccines so close relatives can console each other. And the Daily Mail today sets out a three-point plan to ease Covid-19 rules.
Sir John Hayes, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for funerals and bereavement, called for ‘closer consideration’ of what could be done to ease the suffering of mourners – with caution.
The Tory MP added: ‘The Government has run a trial event on spectator sport. There is no reason why we shouldn’t, under strict conditions, look at trialling how we can relax things in other areas. If you knew that the other mourners had been tested and that they weren’t infected – if they had been vaccinated as well – so much the better.’
Tory former minister David Jones also called for the rules to be eased, adding: ‘A lot of churches are very large indeed and I think that it should be a question of common sense. These are important landmarks in people’s lives and when a relative dies it is very, very inhumane to deprive them of the opportunity of being there at the funeral service.’
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘It seems absolutely clear that the Government should do what it can to ensure no one has to go through the funeral of a loved one isolated and alone like the Queen did.’
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, said the royal funeral meant it was time to look at the rules again. John Stevens, national director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, said: ‘The restrictions make it very difficult for bereaved people to comfort each other and to celebrate the life of their loved ones, and are very frustrating for churches.’
Steven Wibberley, chief executive of Cruse Bereavement Care, called for an urgent review of the earliest date that funerals ‘can be opened to more mourners to ensure as many people as possible are able to say goodbye in the way they would have wanted’.
A Government source said: ‘We have consistently tried to allow as many people to attend funerals and say goodbye to their loved ones as it is safe to do so. We’ll continue to look at how we can make these moments easier for people to comfort one another as we progress through each step of our roadmap.’