Trevor Phillips breaks down recalling daughter’s death in Partygate interview

The broadcaster spoke of getting a phone call in April 2020 to tell him his daughter had collapsed, and went on to say she had died the next morning.

William Janes
Sunday 16 January 2022 13:11
Trevor Phillips (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Trevor Phillips (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips held back tears recalling his daughter’s death in lockdown as he quizzed a senior Conservative MP about “partygate”.

The broadcaster could be seen trying to restrain his emotions as he challenged Oliver Dowden, one of the party’s co-chairs, over whether the prime minister understood public anger about gatherings in Downing Street during lockdown.

Speaking on Trevor Phillips On Sunday, he remembered getting a phone call in April 2020 to tell him his daughter had collapsed. He went on to say she had died the next morning.

Does the Prime Minister really understand why people are angry?

Trevor Phillips

Mr Phillips said: “You’ll forgive me, I’ve talked about this once on this programme and I hoped never to have to do it again, but I think there are thousands, millions, of people across the country who will feel, frankly, rather as I do.

“Let’s go back to that April 17/18 weekend, and I just want to say something about what I did during that week and other people will have exactly the same story.

“That week I saw my two daughters at various times outside – one was pregnant, one was very ill. Their mother, stepmother and I weren’t allowed to meet them together. We all stuck to the spirit and the letter of the rules.

“At dinner, I get a call,” he went on to say. “My daughter’s collapsed, and as you will know, for months she’d been isolated, she was ill.”

“By the following morning she had died,” he added. “She had stuck to the spirit and letter of the rules, and there are going to be thousands of people who have that story in their background and, if I may say so, you are in here telling me about a civil servant’s inquiry, that will not answer that anger.

“Does the prime minister really understand why people are angry?”

I don't think you should apologise for talking about your personal pain because millions of people up and down the country are having the same conversation

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary

Minutes later, in an interview with shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, the journalist said sorry. “I apologise to viewers if I brought something personal into this discussion, let’s try and keep above that,” he said.

But Mr Streeting said: “By the way, Trevor, I don’t think you should apologise for talking about your personal pain because millions of people up and down the country are having the same conversation.”

Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner echoed his sentiments on Twitter, saying: “Moving to hear @TrevorPTweets talk about his family’s pain this morning.

“He should not apologise for sharing his experience. We all have trauma from the last two years. That’s why everyone is so angry.”

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