‘Labour must do the right thing and give Wales its Covid inquiry’ – Lib-Dems
Now is the time for Welsh Labour Senedd Members ‘to do the right thing’ and back a Welsh Covid-inquiry, Welsh Lib-Dems have said.
A Welsh Conservative-led debate calling on the Welsh Government to hold a Wales-wide coronavirus inquiry will take place in the Senedd today.
It aims to establish a special purpose Senedd committee to identify where the UK inquiry is not able to fully scrutinise the response of the Welsh Government and Welsh public bodies to the pandemic.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has previously rejected calls for a Wales-specific inquiry, saying a UK-wide process is the best way for Wales to be heard.
Calls for Wales to have its own Covid inquiry have been been repeated following an admission that the ongoing UK inquiry “cannot cover every issue” relating to Wales.
On the first day of the recent UK Covid inquiry, Baroness Hallet said, in reference to the calls for scrutiny of decisions made in Wales throughout the pandemic: “I have to emphasise, we can’t cover every issue, we cannot cover, or call every witness, we are going to have to focus on the most significant and the most important decisions”.
Baroness Hallet also indicated that it would still be possible for a Wales-specific inquiry, saying: “If a Wales enquiry is set up, I will work with them and cooperate to the best of my ability to ensure that between us we cover all the issues that people of Wales would wish to see covered.”
She stressed that it would not be a decision for her to make, and that she is “completely neutral” on the question.
All the main opposition parties in Wales have called for a Wales-only-inquiry, as have campaign groups such as the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru (CBFJC). But the Welsh Government has argued that a UK-wide inquiry will be the best way to examine decisions made in the four UK nations.
‘Do the right thing’
Commenting ahead of the debate, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Now is the time for Welsh Labour Senedd Members to do the right thing and back a Welsh Covid-inquiry. The bereaved families of Wales deserve an inquiry that pays full attention to decisions made here in Wales.
“With serious concerns about whether the UK Covid inquiry will cover all aspects of decision-making in Wales, we need to have an inquiry looking specifically at the actions taken by Ministers in Cardiff Bay.
“As I have repeatedly said this isn’t about apportioning blame, but about ensuring that we learn vital lessons to ensure we are better prepared for the future.
“There is also something to be said that if Welsh Labour supports the devolution of more powers to Wales, they must understand that with increased powers comes increased scrutiny.”
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