Plaid Leader Adam Price MS calls on process to set up public inquiry to begin now
Welsh Government have agreed in principle to a future public inquiry into government handling of the Coronavirus crisis.
Responding to the call from Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS during today’s Senedd Plenary, First Minister Mark Drakeford said he agreed to the principle of a public inquiry - but was not able to anticipate “when that would be”.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said he welcomed the First Minister’s admission but expressed disappointment that he had not committed to a timetable.
Mr Price said the process of setting up an independent public inquiry into government handling of the Coronavirus crisis should begin now so it could begin receiving evidence this year.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething alluded to a “backward looking inquiry” yesterday during the Welsh Government press conference but this is the first time Welsh Government have formally agreed to a public inquiry on the Coronavirus pandemic – and are the first government in the UK to do so.
Una O’Brien - the former Permanent Secretary in the Department for Health in England - had previously made the case for a timely inquiry, underpinned by cross party dialogue and independent of Government.
Mr Price added that all documentation should be kept and virtual meetings recorded going forward as a matter of course.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,
“The First Minister’s agreement to a future inquiry into government handling of the Coronavirus crisis must be welcomed – indeed, the Welsh Government is now the first government within the UK to agree to such an inquiry.
“Disappointingly, however, the First Minister failed to give any details on when that inquiry will begin.
“The process of setting up an inquiry should begin now so it can start taking evidence this year. Work could then begin while memories are fresh, and interim findings could be ready by spring of next year.
“Learning lessons to better inform future responses and improve decision-making is crucial and such an inquiry should leave no stone unturned in answering, difficult questions fully and frankly.
“Wales could set the agenda by announcing its inquiry in advance, setting an example to the Westminster Government which it would be compelled to follow.
“The people of Wales – especially those directly affected by the tragic consequences of this pandemic – will expect and deserve nothing less.”