BORIS Johnson has announced a full public inquiry into Covid will start in Spring 2022.
In the biggest such probe since the Iraq war, under the 2005 Inquiry Act a judge-led investigation will look at the full handling of Britain’s pandemic, putting the PM’s decisions “under a microscope”.
Boris has announced an inquiry into the Covid pandemic will start next yearCredit: AFP
The PM told MPs in the Commons todayCredit: AFP
But is not expected to report back before the next Election – currently due to be held in in 2024.
He said in the House of Commons today: “the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly, as possible, and to learn every lesson for the future.
“I can confirm today that the Government will establish an independent public inquiry on a statutory basis, with full powers under the Inquiries Act of 2005, including the ability to compel the production of all relevant materials and take all evidence in public.”
A formal commemoration for the victims of the virus will be unveiled too, with a public commission to decide the most fitting memorial to the dead.
More than 127,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test – and 151,000 have got Covid-19 on their death certificate, some of the highest numbers in the Western world.
Ministers have refused to admit the UK went into a lockdown too slowly last March and November, which critics say cost lives.
Yesterday the PM promised to hold an inquiry in this session of Parliament – but until now it wasn’t clear it was going to be a full, judge-led one.
It means the witnesses may be called to give evidence, too.
The Chilcot report into the Iraq was was announced by former PM Gordon Brown in 2009, and wasn’t published until July 2016.
MPs have repeatedly called for a look back into what went wrong, but the PM has refused to sign it off in the middle of the pandemic as the NHS focuses on treating patients and getting through the worst of the crisis.
But as fewer and fewer people are going to hospital with Covid and cases are dropping, the PM is now ready to confirm the inquiry will begin.
Labour and the Lib Dems have said it musn’t be a case of the Government being allowed to “mark their own homework” and a judge-led inquiry will ensure more independence.
The PM will announce a deep dive into how and when the country went into lockdown, and what decisions were takenCredit: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street