Boris Johnson promises independent inquiry into Covid-19 response but says now is not the ‘right moment’

‘Of course we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future,’ says PM
House of Commons/PA Wire/PA Images

By PoliticsHome staff

16 Jul 2020

Boris Johnson has committed to holding an independent inquiry into the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but has warned against holding one “in the middle” of the fight against the disease.

Appearing at PMQs on Wednesday, the prime minister made the promise in response to a question from Sir Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dem leadership contender said the prime minister had previously refused demands for an immediate inquiry and called on the government to “commit in principle to a future public inquiry” into the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Johnson told MPs: "As I told the House several times, I do not believe that now, in the middle of combating still, as we are, a pandemic, is the right moment to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry.

"But of course, we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future. And certainly, we'll have an independent inquiry into what happened."

It came after Davey highlighted the UK has “suffered one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe's worst death rate for health and care workers”.

Elsewhere in PMQs, Johnson said the UK’s coronavirus test and trace system was “as good as or better than any other system anywhere in the world”.

And he accused opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer of “knocking the confidence of the country”.

But Sir Keir said the PM’s claims that the government’s response so far had been a “stunning success” were “kidding no-one”.

A version of this story first appeared on CSW's sister site PoliticsHome.

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