Conservatives welcome Labour MP call for Wales-specific Covid inquiry
Welsh Conservatives have welcomed an intervention by a Labour MP who has called for a Wales-specific Covid inquiry – contrary to the position of the Labour-run Welsh Government.
Chris Evans, the Labour MP for Islwyn, who is the shadow defence minister at Westminster, said that there “has to be some sort of inquiry. There’s been over 7,000 deaths.”
He said that “this is about bereaved families who have lost loved ones and have questions that need to be answered. I don’t think this is a political issue, it’s a moral issue.”
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said he was “pleased” that there are Labour politicians “brave enough to break ranks and do what is right through calling for a Wales-specific Covid inquiry”.
“Hopefully this marks only the beginning and we will see more members of Mark Drakeford’s party turn around to him to tell him that he is wrong and the Cardiff Bay government has a duty to provide answers to all those who suffered loss due to the virus and lockdowns,” he said.
“Chris Evans is right to highlight that devolution of powers cannot mean the evasion of accountability by the Labour Government. They made the decisions and, for good or ill, they must own them, ceasing their unending habit of blaming others in areas where they are responsible.
“The Welsh Conservatives will not stop in our determination to deliver justice for the people of Wales.”
Chris Evans told the BBC that he thought Mark Drakeford had been “very sympathetic” to campaigners from the Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice Cymru group after meeting them, but thought the issue is “something that will be looked at again”.
“In fairness to the government they were facing a pandemic we’d never seen on this scale before, not since Spanish flu in the 1920s.
“Their response was quick, it was right, but still there are questions and there are issues that need to be addressed and those need to be addressed I think by a Wales-wide inquiry specifically where we’re looking at the issues in Wales.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford has so far resisted pressure for a Wales-specific inquiry by all the Senedd opposition parties.
The Welsh government responded by saying: “A UK-wide inquiry will have the capacity and force to oversee the interconnected nature of the decisions that have been made across the four nations.