Labour says public inquiry into Covid response should start in June
Labour says formal public inquiry into Government’s handling of coronavirus crisis should start in JUNE when Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap ends after Jonathan Van Tam warns launching a probe now would be ‘an extra burden’
- Labour urging Government to start public inquiry into Covid response in June
- Shadow minister Rachel Reeves said it must be independent and held in public
- Comes after Jonathan Van Tam said holding probe now would be ‘extra burden’
Labour has demanded the Government launch a formal public inquiry into its coronavirus response in June when Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown is due to have been completed.
Rachel Reeves, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said ministers should start laying the groundwork now for the probe which she insisted must be independent and held in public.
Ms Reeves said the inquiry should ‘really get started’ once the nation reaches June 21 – the date set for the final step in the Prime Minister’s lockdown exit strategy.
Her intervention came after Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said launching an inquiry now would be ‘an extra burden that wasn’t necessary’.
Boris Johnson said yesterday that ‘of course there will be a time for a full inquiry’ but the Government is yet to set a date
Rachel Reeves, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, has called for the formal inquiry into the Government’s coronavirus response to start in June
Speaking at PMQs yesterday, Mr Johnson said ‘of course there will be a time for a full inquiry to enable us all to understand what we need to do better when we face these problems in the future’.
But the Government is yet to set out a timeframe for launching the probe, with Labour adamant it should start in June.
Ms Reeves told The Guardian: ‘We’re supposed to be out of the roadmap by 21 June.
‘Let’s get ready for it now, and from 21 June this inquiry can really get started and use the summer months where we should be better protected, and the vaccine has been rolled out to most adults.’
Ms Reeves said that ‘justice is being denied’ to bereaved families and ‘they can’t have closure until they better understand what happened’.
The shadow minister has written to her counterpart Michael Gove seeking a formal commitment to hold an inquiry.
Mr Van Tam yesterday warned against imminently launching a public inquiry as he suggested the focus must remain on the vaccine rollout and combatting the spread of the disease.
He told a Downing Street press conference: ‘I think the timing of inquiries is entirely a matter for ministers and politicians, it’s not a matter for physicians.
Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, yesterday said launching an inquiry now would be ‘an extra burden’
‘Personally, would an inquiry be an unwelcome distraction for me personally, at the moment, when I’m very focussed on the vaccine programme and the vaccine programme we might need in the autumn? Who knows, I think it would be an extra burden that wasn’t necessary.
‘Is looking back on what you did and whether you could do things better a function of medicine, in terms of the clinical audit that happens in every GP surgery and every NHS trust up and down the land? Yes, it is.
‘Will lessons be learned in due course? I am sure lessons will emerge.’
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