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‘It doesn’t make sense’ to have Wales-only Covid inquiry, ex-First Minister claims

04 Jan 2022 3 minutes Read
The former First Minister Carwyn Jones. Picture by The National Assembly (CC BY 2.0).

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.”


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Cath Hill
Cath Hill
6 months ago

I would be willing to wager that, should we have (as we MUST have) an enquiry into how Covid was handled in Cymru we would find that aside from understandable human error, the bottom line to most problems identified would have a rather unpleasant connection to money and economy in regards to how much funding we receive from Westminster. To give context to my comment, I lost my partner in the first wave of Covid and we were separated because of covid restrictions, I am Welsh so was she and I was restricted from seeing my children across the border… Read more »

Anna
Anna
6 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

Sorry for your loss but over 25% of deaths in Wales were hospital acquired. Infection control was shocking and nothing to do with Westminster.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

I would like to have a Wales only inquiry, so we can learn from any possible mistakes, as this virus seems to be mutating and could be with us for a while. And also, if the only question answered was, where did our medical supplies end up at the start of the pandemic, when our Gov announced we had a deal with a medical company to supply us. Were the supplies intercepted, or did our Gov make the story up ? This sort of thing needs sorting, for future ref.

Jack Bryn
Jack Bryn
6 months ago

Absolutely vital that there is a Wales-based and Wales-focussed Inquiry. Any UK Inquiry will essentially be an English one, and therefore Wales would be a series of paragraphs within the various sections of any subsequent Report. The attention paid to things like GP funding issues in rural and poorer areas, Welsh Ambulance Service provision, PPE supply, and the variety of disparities arising from these matters, will not be adequately addressed by any London-led Inquiry. If we don’t really delve deep into these points then Wales will be ill prepared for future viruses and possible pandemics.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago
Reply to  Jack Bryn

PPE supply supports Carwyn’s argument in that NHS Supply Chain is managed by Supply Chain Co-ordination Limited a private company whose shares are 100% owned by the SoS of Health and Welfare at Westminster. The CEO of this from July last year has been Andrew New, the group director of purchasing for the Tory donors JCB. Not a hope in hell of getting him to attend a Wales only inquiry because he would claim “commercial confidence”. He is just one of many, including the entire Westminster civil service who would need to provide answers which Wales has no hope of… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
6 months ago

Labour Carwyn, walking in the puddle to muddy it.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
6 months ago

So they want the corrupt tories to do their job for them? And they think it won’t be flipped to make Wales look bad and England as the hero? Pure naivety yet again. How many more times do they need to be slapped in the face by Westminster before they grow up and hit back?

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
6 months ago

Wasn’t he the little rat who signed away our democratically voted for law making powers that we overwhelmingly voted in favour of to the English nationalists in Wastemonster? F’ing bradwr.

Anna
Anna
6 months ago

The Wales inquiry would cover devolved matters and furlough would be covered in the UK inquiry as it was a UK decision. Carwyn please come and talk to our group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru and we can explain what a Wales inquiry will cover and why we’d not need to call on those outside Wales.

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