Following a summit between the British Prime Minister and leaders of the devolved administrations, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford tweeted:
“Today I pressed the PM for a guarantee the UK covid inquiry would properly examine the actions of @WelshGovernment and experiences of the people of Wales. The PM confirmed there will be a proper Welsh dimension to the inquiry and spoke of its importance to the whole of the UK.”
Later, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice-Cymru tweeted:
“We are so angry about this tonight. We shared our personal stories with @fmwales and he promised to update us in a meeting in “a few weeks”. On a wet Monday night, we read his tweet. We deserve better than this. Wales deserves better than this.”
Responding, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:
“For the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay to both refuse grieving Welsh families a Covid inquiry to examine its actions during the pandemic and to push ahead with its constitutional commission in a matter of hours shows its mindset is warped and out-of-touch.
“Wales has the highest Covid death rate in the UK and over 8,000 people have tragically died during the pandemic, a quarter of whom acquired the infection in hospital. Their families deserve answers, and full, independent scrutiny of the decisions taken by Labour ministers.
“This should be the priority, not naval-gazing over constitutional settlements that will, unbelievably, examine the dangerous and economically illiterate cause of independence.
“Bereaved families, doctor groups, and lung charities are all calling on Mark Drakeford to accept the due scrutiny that every democracy deserves. Otherwise, the question will arise: what are Labour ministers hiding?”
Taking up the issue on behalf of the families in the Senedd this afternoon, Mr Davies said:
“There is no reason why the Welsh Government can’t take part in a UK-wide inquiry and a Welsh inquiry. An open and transparent Government must be accountable to the people it serves, and the people of Wales deserve answers.
“An open and transparent Government must be accountable to the people it serves, and the people of Wales deserve answers. ‘Responsible, but not held responsible’ seems to be the mantra of this Welsh Labour Government. Now, organisations like the bereaved families group, Medics 4 Mask Up Wales and the British Lung Foundation have all joined calls for a Welsh inquiry.
“It’s time for your government to do the right thing and commit to that inquiry. A Welsh inquiry is a necessary part in helping the country understand how decisions were made and whether lessons have indeed been learnt.”
Speaking outside the chamber, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Economy, Paul Davies MS said:
“Welsh Conservatives have always said a Wales-specific inquiry, alongside a UK investigation, is essential in delivering justice for those affected by coronavirus and lockdowns.
“Throughout the pandemic we were told that different decisions would be taken in Wales to meet our specific circumstances, and now we need a specific public inquiry to scrutinise these decisions.
“Sadly, Wales has the highest Covid death rate in the UK and over 8,000 people have tragically died during the pandemic, a quarter of whom acquired the infection in hospital.
“The grieving families deserve answers, and full, independent scrutiny of the decisions taken by Labour ministers and Wales should get the transparency, accountability, and scrutiny that every democracy needs to thrive.
“Regrettably, responsible but not held responsible seems to be the mantra of this Labour administration.”