Minister accused of ‘misdirection’ after ruling out a Wales-specific Covid inquiry
The Welsh Government has been accused of “running away” from an independent inquiry into its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS also accused Health Minister Eluned Morgan of contradiction and “misdirection” in her response to a written question on the reasons for ruling out a Wales-specific inquiry.
On 7 July, Baroness Morgan rejected Mr George’s call in the Senedd for a dedicated Covid inquiry in Wales, saying, “it is very difficult to disaggregate what was going on in the rest of the UK from what’s going here”, citing personal protective equipment as an example.
However, when Mr George asked for clarification of areas this applied in a written question, the Minister appeared to backtrack.
“I do not believe that there are any such areas, although of course there are instances where decisions within the responsibility of the UK Government have impacted upon, and have had consequences form decisions that are within the responsibility of the Welsh Government,” she replied.
“Labour’s rejection of scrutiny of the widest ever use of the Welsh Government’s powers – while simultaneously calling for more devolution –undermines the Senedd they profess to support,” Mr George claimed.
“That attitude and the misdirection by the health minister suggests contempt for those that have suffered from the effects of the virus and lockdowns in Wales, while evasion of an inquiry only raises suspicions.
“People in Wales deserve a full and transparent account of why their government did what it did during the pandemic – good decisions and bad – not some “subsection” in a larger UK-wide report where the Welsh Government can avoid accountability, as is its desire.”
Plaid Cymru has also accused the government of “ducking scrutiny” by refusing to set up an independent inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.
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 rejected pressure to hold a separate probe.