‘It doesn’t make sense’ to have Wales-only Covid inquiry, ex-First Minister claims
A former First Minister has claimed that it “doesn’t make sense” to have a Wales-only inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carwyn Jones has argued that a Wales-only inquiry would not have the power to make witnesses from bodies that are accountable to the UK Government turn up to be questioned.
He also suggested that Wales not having control of the furlough scheme, which was run by the UK Treasury, is a reason not to have a Wales-only inquiry.
John Williams, Emeritus Professor of Law, Aberystwyth University, recently wrote on Nation.Cymru that an “Anglocentric” is “not good enough”, and argued that decisions “made in Wales and for Wales should be reviewed within Wales”.
The Welsh Government has come under increasing pressure from Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives to hold a Wales-only Covid-inquiry, as well as from the families of those who have lost loved ones to the deadly virus.
But the Welsh Government argues that Wales will be covered sufficiently by a UK-wide inquiry.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, is conducting an inquiry into the dandling of the pandemic in Scotland.
In response to a suggestion that the there was a plan afoot to dodge scrutiny, Carwyn Jones told Golwg: “Not at all. It doesn’t make sense to have a specific inquiry for Wales because there are so many different factors like the furlough that came from the UK Government’s Treasury.
“If you have a specific Welsh inquiry the problem is you won’t be able to have all the witnesses you want to turn up there.
“There’ll be some bodies that are answerable to the UK Government, and to put it simply, they won’t turn up and there won’t be a way to get them to turn up.”
‘Difficult to understand the rationale’
John Williams, Emeritus Professor of Law, Aberystwyth University, recently wrote on Nation.Cymru: “It is difficult to understand the rationale of the decision to reject a Welsh inquiry. Eluned Morgan in the Senedd spoke of the importance of looking at all aspects together across the UK.
“But this holistic analysis may be better achieved by collectively learning from four independent nation-based reports rather than the unwieldy remit of looking across borders. A UK wide inquiry is made more difficult by the different political complexions of the four governments.
“Welsh Government’s response provides succour to the idea that Wales cannot go it alone, even in devolved matters. Decisions made in Wales and for Wales should be reviewed within Wales.
“As with Scotland, any Welsh inquiry would work with the UK-wide one on non-devolved matters. Delyth Jewell MS said the Senedd debate should not be an ‘ugly exercise in point scoring’; it is probably true to say it was not. Nor should any Welsh inquiry be an inquisition. It would identify the good, the not so good, and the bad so Wales is better prepared next time.
“Many people in Wales died, often without seeing family. Others suffered from the ravages of Covid-19, directly and indirectly. Staff in NHS Cymru, social services and many other public services endured dangerous and demanding working conditions. Lives have been disrupted.
“Justice dictates that people’s legitimate concerns, grievances, and their need for evidence-based justifications are reviewed within the nation where decisions were made and not in a chapter(s) of an Anglocentric inquiry.
“‘For Wales see England’ is not good enough.”