‘Make Covid memorial wall permanent’, Boris Johnson told by 200 politicians

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More than 200 politicians today urged Boris Johnson to secure the future of London’s Covid memorial wall.

Peers, MPs and Mayors joined forces in a letter urging the PM to support the campaign to make the wall a permanent site.

The line of hand-drawn red hearts representing the dead stretches for 500 metres between Lambeth and Westminster bridges.

Families have visited the site since March, adding messages for lost loved-ones.

Mr Johnson infuriated grieving families last month by making a solo visit to the memorial under cover of darkness in April, after being asked for weeks to “walk the wall” alongside relatives.

And on Thursday Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted he had not visited the memorial – just steps away from Parliament – adding “I very much hope to.”

The letter was led by Labour MP Afzal Khan, who lost his mum and both his parents-in-law to the virus.

He said: “The Covid Memorial Wall is an extraordinary site and deeply moving. I had the privilege to visit the site last month where I left messages to remember my mum and both my parents-in-law whose lives were so cruelly cut short by this virus.

“I hope one day to be able to bring my children and grandchildren to see these messages and the wall for themselves.

“It is fantastic to see such support across Parliament and the country for this campaign, it just goes to show that while we may not always be united in our politics, we are all united in our grief for those lost to the pandemic.”

It features messages left by families in memory of lost loved-ones
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

The letter reads: “Given the poignancy of this site, the need to give grieving families a place to mourn their loved ones, and your previous commitment to a national Covid memorial, we, the undersigned, support calls to make this wall of hearts a, if not the, permanent memorial to the victims of the pandemic.”

Among the signatories of this letter are over 160 MPs from across the House of Commons as well as members of the House of Lords.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Florence Eshalomi MP, in whose constituency the wall resides, are also signatories.

Matt Fowler, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice: “The Memorial Wall has brought many thousands of bereaved families across the country together in ways that we could never have imagined, it’s been utterly overwhelming.

“We’ll never get back the people we’ve lost, but having a shared space for our collective memory, to share our loss and our love, has meant so much.

“It is unthinkable that the Wall would be taken down, when it is so important, to so many.

“Seeing this support from MPs across parliament for it to be made permanent has been heartening, and we sincerely hope the Prime Minister will join them.”

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Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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