Opposition parties call for committee to be established that will scrutinise Welsh Government handling of Covid
Parties jointly call for Senedd Covid Scrutiny Committee to learn lessons from pandemic
Opposition parties in the Senedd have tabled a debate calling for a committee to be established that would scrutinise decisions made by the Welsh Government in areas not covered by the UK Covid Inquiry.
The debate to be held today (Wednesday 30 November), will call for a committee to identify which issues relating to the Welsh Government’s Covid decisions will not be covered by the UK Covid Inquiry, and then go on to conduct its own detailed investigation into those areas.
The calls come in response to comments made by Baroness Hallet, the chair of the UK Covid Inquiry, who stated on the first day of the inquiry that the remit would not cover every issue relating to Wales, or every decision made by the Welsh Government. This confirmed many of the worries raised by Plaid Cymru and the Covid Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru group for over a year.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Health and Care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:
“So far, the Labour Welsh Government has left the scrutiny of its own decisions to the UK Covid Inquiry. This is unacceptable. Since the early days of the pandemic, Plaid Cymru has argued that there should be a Wales-specific inquiry, with decisions made in Wales properly scrutinised in Wales.
“We’ve argued that a single UK inquiry can’t possibly reflect devolved decision-making properly, concerns which were confirmed on the first day of the UK Covid Inquiry, when the chair stressed that it would not be possible to cover every issue, or call every witness relating to decisions made in Wales.
“To leave decisions unscrutinised or inadequately scrutinised does a disservice to the people of Wales, particularly to those who worked so hard on the front line, those who lost loves ones and those who are still suffering with long-Covid.
“We must take every opportunity to scrutinise the Welsh Government on Covid, both good decisions and bad. That’s how we’ll learn lessons about what worked well and what didn’t. In calling for this committee to be set up alongside the UK Covid Inquiry, Plaid Cymru and our fellow opposition parties are saying that we can and should scrutinise those decisions.”
A spokesperson for the Covid Bereaved Families Cymru group, said:
“We welcome this action by opposition parties. The Welsh Government has had every opportunity to hold a Wales specific Covid inquiry but has chosen not to.
“The First Minister assured us that Wales being in the UK Inquiry was the right thing despite devolved-decision making. However the UK Inquiry cannot cover the issues in Wales in detail and in the way that he said he wanted.
“All we have ever wanted is what went wrong for our loved ones to be acknowledged and for lessons to be learned. Our concerns about the UK Inquiry are coming true and the First Minister has not challenged this.
“Ultimately we deserve a Wales specific judge-led inquiry. Sadly we’ve been denied this in Wales, therefore this committee will at least help ensure some detailed scrutiny of Wales that the UK Inquiry will not cover.”