Plaid calls for First Minister to withdraw comments on COVID-19 campaign group
“As a mark of respect to the campaigners, the First Minister should reflect on the choice of words he used yesterday” – Rhun ap Iorwerth MS
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on health and care, has written to the First Minister asking him to withdraw comments which “misrepresent” a group campaigning for justice for families bereaved from COVID-19.
In Plenary, the First Minister indicated that the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru group “are moving on” from wanting a Wales-specific independent inquiry into the pandemic, but the campaigners were quick to point out on Twitter that the First Minister had “lied”.
Rhun ap Iorwerth has written to Mark Drakeford asking him to withdraw his comments regarding the campaigners having “moved on”.
In his letter, Mr ap Iorwerth also points out that the campaigners feel that the First Minister suggested he wrote to the UK Covid Inquiry to support the group’s application for Core Participant status – a claim they refute by way of a letter they received from the First Minister that confirms he would not do so.
Mr ap Iorwerth has asked the First Minister to “reflect” on his contribution “by way of respect” to the campaigners who have “done an outstanding job gathering evidence in the hope of getting to the truth in relation to the response to the pandemic.”
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru group are rightly angry that they were misrepresented by the First Minister Mark Drakeford in Plenary yesterday.
“They have not ‘moved on’ and, like me, remain convinced that COVID-19 decisions taken in Wales should be scrutinised in Wales. While some decisions were made at UK level, much of the response to the pandemic here in Wales has been in the hands of the Welsh Government, and the only way to truly learn lessons of the pandemic would be to have our own Wales-specific public inquiry.
“There is also a suggestion that the First Minister had written to them earlier this year supporting their application for core participation status, which they have shown to be inaccurate. As a mark of respect to the campaigners, the First Minister should reflect on the choice of words he used yesterday.”