Tories criticise Drakeford for rejecting call for Wales-specific Covid inquiry
The Tories have criticised Mark Drakeford for rejecting their call for a Wales-specific public inquiry into the pandemic.
The First Minister ruled out the idea when he was asked about it by Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies.
Drakeford said that he has agreed with Westminster for Wales to be part of a UK-wide inquiry, but added that there should be “specific chapters” that deal with the “experience here in Wales”.
Davies has warned that this runs the risk of Wales being a “footnote”.
He argued that a separate inquiry is needed because Wales has done things differently to England.
Commenting outside the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the First Minister has repeatedly insisted we do things differently here in Wales and that announcements and decisions taken in England do not apply to us.
“Decisions made in Wales had an impact on lives here in Wales, and they should be put under the microscope of an independent public inquiry here in Wales, and not run the risk of being a footnote.
“Mark Drakeford regularly demands being treated as a legitimate and equal partner, but sadly that doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to scrutiny and accountability of his government’s decisions.
“Tragically, 7,860 people have died in Wales over the past 18 months, and we owe it to their families to ensure they have answers, and that Wales is fully prepared for any future pandemic.
“A Wales-specific inquiry will ensure we learn vital lessons moving forward – both good and bad – and only Wales’ First Minister can commission it. He should do so immediately.”
‘I won’t be doing that’
When he was asked about the subject in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said: No, Llywydd, I won’t be doing that, because I’ve agreed with his Government in Westminster that we will be part of the public inquiry that the Prime Minister has announced.
“As far as I am aware, that is the only public inquiry that is proposed in the United Kingdom. I’ve had the opportunity to discuss that with senior members of the Government in Westminster.
“I have put the point to them that I believe there must be specific chapters in that inquiry that deal with the experience here in Wales, and deal with it exclusively, but I’ve agreed with the Prime Minister and with Michael Gove, the Minister in charge of the Cabinet Office, that a single UK-wide inquiry, with the force that it will have, with the capacity that it will have to see the interconnected nature of many of the decisions that have been made across the United Kingdom, is the best way to shine a light on the way in which those many distressing experiences that people have had in Wales in this extraordinary time can be properly understood and an account of them given.”