THERE have been renewed calls for the Welsh Government to call its own public inquiry into the way it handled the Covid pandemic.Pressure on the Labour administration has steadily increased over the weeks since the Senedd went into recess.

However, calls for a Wales-only inquiry received added impetus on Tuesday (Aug 24), when the Scottish Government announced it would hold its own Scotland-only inquiry.

The Scottish inquiry is due to report by the end of this year.By contrast, the Welsh Government says there is no need for a separate Welsh inquiry, as Wales will be covered in a UK-wide inquiry commissioned by the Westminster government.

However, that inquiry will not even begin until March next year.It is widely regarded as an attempt to kick any potentially critical findings well into the long grass and beyond the next General Election.

Opposition parties have been firm in their calls for a Wales-only report.

The Conservatives have repeatedly said that Wales risks being an overlooked chapter in a wider UK investigation.

The Party’s Shadow Health Minister, Russell George, and Leader, Andrew RT Davies, have both pointed out the Covid pandemic was the largest exercise of devolved powers by the Welsh Government.

Plaid Cymru Health and Care spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “For over a year Plaid Cymru has asked for a Wales-only public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic. 

“The Labour Government in Cardiff has instead opted to have a Welsh chapter in a UK-wide inquiry.

“The Scottish Government has today announced it will hold its own public inquiry into the handling of the Covid pandemic by the end of the year.

The Welsh Government have no excuse not to do the same.

“Wales rightly acted independently in so many areas during the pandemic and with so many of the relevant policy areas devolved, and so many decisions having been taken in Wales, we need a Wales-specific inquiry.

“The loss of life, as well as the loss of freedoms, of education, and a deep economic impact will weigh heavy on us for years to come. 

“We need to look at what happened in detail, and in public, to learns lessons for the future.

“The Welsh Government has got to take responsibility for its actions – good and bad, and there should be no avoidance of detailed scrutiny.

“In rejecting the demand for a Wales-specific public inquiry, the Labour Government is essentially agreeing to the Prime Minister’s delay, and confirming that they’re happy for Wales to be a chapter in the deferred UK inquiry. 

“The people of Wales are owed more than that.”In a letter sent to the First Minister, Mr Davies wrote: “Now that the Scottish First Minister has announced that there will be such an inquiry in Scotland, the Welsh Government is the only government in Great Britain that will not subject itself to such scrutiny.”In my view, this is unacceptable.

“Nobody can doubt that you and your cabinet have worked extremely hard since the beginning of Covid-19, but there are questions that need answering and lessons that need to be learnt, particularly if Wales is to be fully prepared for a future pandemic.

“I believe it is imperative that families who have lost loved ones have the answers they deserve, and it is also important that your government is recognised for its successes as well as its failures.”

On August 2, The Herald asked the Welsh Government for a specific comment on why the Welsh Government does not support a Wales-only Covid enquiry.

Although other requests for comments and responses sent the same day were answered, that one was not.