Conservatives and Plaid Cymru co-sign motion calling for Wales-specific inquiry into Covid pandemic
Calls for a Wales-specific inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic will be debated in the Senedd on Wednesday.
A motion co-signed by the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru will call on the Welsh Government to launch the inquiry.
The UK Government have already committed to holding a UK-wide inquiry, but despite taking decisions on handling the Covid inquiry independently in Wales, the Welsh Government have so far rebuffed suggestions that they should hold a separate inquiry.
Russell George, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, said that an inquiry in Wales would ensure the government and public services are fully prepared for any future pandemic.
“Welsh Conservatives have been clear from the outset that there should be a separate UK and Wales inquiry into the pandemic,” he said.
“After the most difficult 18 months in living memory, we owe it to the people of Wales to learn what went right and what went wrong, not simply consigning the experience to a solitary, overlooked chapter in a mammoth investigation.
“We’ve had a fantastic vaccine rollout but it’s sadly unescapable that Wales also has the highest death rate of any home nation in the UK, and last week we learned that nearly a quarter of people who tragically died with coronavirus in our country caught it in a hospital setting.
“As such, Labour ministers can no longer shirk away from holding an inquiry. We owe it to the families who lost loved ones to ensure they have answers, and that Wales learns the lessons from the past 18 months and that our government and public services are fully prepared for any future pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru health spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has criticised the Welsh Government’s decision to schedule its press conference at the same time as a Senedd debate on an independent public inquiry into its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is staggering that Welsh Government is to hold a press conference during a Senedd debate specifically designed to ensure maximum transparency on the Welsh Government’s handling of the pandemic,” he said.
“The First Minister and his Ministers were not elected to the Welsh Government briefing room, they were elected to the Senedd.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen announcement after announcement made by press release, rather than in our Parliament where proper scrutiny can take place. Sadly, here’s another example of a Government snub.”
Mark Drakeford is due to make a statement tomorrow setting out further details on the new alert level zero for Wales, including whether masks will be mandatory in other settings.
The Welsh Government have said that “active further consideration” is being given to whether masks will still be required by law in other settings, like retail.