Welsh ministers to be ‘involved’ in ‘setting terms of reference’ for UK-wide Covid inquiry
Welsh Government ministers will be “involved” in “setting and agreeing the terms of reference” for a UK-wide Covid-19 inquiry, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford has said the UK Government has “confirmed” that this will be the case following the announcement of the appointment of Baroness Heather Hallett to lead the investigation into the pandemic.
He has welcomed the appointment, saying she has “extensive experience” in dealing with “complex inquiries, including within a devolved context”.
The First Minister has come under pressure from Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives to hold a Wales-only inquiry, but has so far resisted calls to do so, arguing a UK-wide investigation into the pandemic is sufficient.
Mark Drakeford said: “I am pleased that Baroness Hallett has been appointed to lead the UK-wide Covid-19 public inquiry.
“I have long argued the importance of this being a Judge-led inquiry and Baroness Hallett has extensive experience of dealing with high profile, sensitive and complex inquiries, including within a devolved context.
“This understanding of devolution is important if the inquiry is to fully scrutinise the decisions and actions taken by the Welsh Government and other Welsh public services in response to the pandemic.
“I am also pleased that the UK Government has confirmed that Welsh Ministers will be involved in setting and agreeing the terms of reference for the inquiry.
“The pandemic has been – and continues to be – one of the most difficult periods this country has ever faced. The appointment of Baroness Hallett will ensure the inquiry is handled sensitively and families who have lost loved ones are able to receive answers to the questions they have been asking.”