Voting down of Wales Covid inquiry ‘most shameful day in the history’ of Welsh Labour govt, say Tories
The voting down of calls for a Welsh inquiry into Covid is “the most shameful day in the history of the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay,” Welsh Tories have said.
Welsh Conservative-led calls for the Welsh Parliament to set up its own inquiry into Covid were narrowly voted down in the Senedd yesterday, 30 November.
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.
The aim was 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.
Calls for Wales to have its own Covid inquiry have been repeated following a recent admission that the UK inquiry “cannot cover every issue” relating to Wales.
Speaking after the proposal was defeated, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS said: “It is incredible that Labour has again blocked attempts to impose scrutiny and accountability on them by blocking the formation of this committee.
“We have always maintained that a Wales-specific Covid inquiry is the best way to scrutinise ministers on their decision-making without being overshadowed by events in England, but if they were to continue blocking one, maybe they would, at least, agree to this committee that fills the gaps the UK-wide inquiry would inevitably leave.
“This may well go down as the most shameful day in the history of the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay’s history – and they already have a great deal to be ashamed of.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “It is really disappointing that Labour Senedd Members could not do the right thing today and ensure that Wales gets a covid inquiry that fully takes into account decision-making made in Wales during the pandemic.
“Their decision will leave bereaved families extremely disappointed, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice have already stated they don’t want a proper examination of Wales to be kicked into the long grass.
“This decision will also leave Welsh democracy weaker, if you support powers being held in the Senedd in Wales then you should support scrutiny being carried out into the use of those powers.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to call for decision-making in Wales to be fully examined so we can learn comprehensively from the experiences of the pandemic.”
Mr George had read out a statement on behalf of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Group Cymru in the debate: “We welcome this action by opposition parties. The Welsh Government has had every opportunity to hold a Wales specific Covid inquiry but has chosen not to. The First Minister assured us that Wales being in the UK Inquiry was the right thing despite devolved decision-making.
“However, the UK Inquiry cannot cover the issues in Wales in detail and in the way that he said he wanted. All we have ever wanted is what went wrong for our loved ones to be acknowledged and for lessons to be learned.
“Our concerns about the UK Inquiry are coming true and the First Minister has not challenged this. Ultimately, we deserve a Wales specific judge-led inquiry.
“Sadly, we’ve been denied this in Wales, therefore this committee will at least help ensure some detailed scrutiny of Wales that the UK Inquiry will not cover.”
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