Public inquiry into government's handling of coronavirus pandemic will start next year, says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has confirmed a public inquiry into the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic will start next year.
Revealing the news to MPs in Parliament today, Mr Johnson said the inquiry would see actions taken put under the microscope.
It comes after more than 127,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test since the pandemic began last year, 208 of those being in Newark and Sherwood.
Mr Johnson said amid such tragedy, the state had an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible to learn every lesson for the future.
He said: "So, I can confirm today that the government will establish an independent public inquiry on a statutory basis, with full powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 — including the ability to compel the production of all relevant materials and take oral evidence in public under oath.
"This inquiry must be able to look at the events of the last year in the cold light of day and identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future.
"Free to scrutinise every document to hear from all the key players and analyse and learn from the breadth of our response.
"That's the right way, I think, to get the answers that the people of this country deserve and to ensure that our United Kingdom is better prepared for any future pandemic."
The Prime Minister added his government would work closely with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in setting up the inquiry, consulting on the inquiry's terms of reference.
He said given the potential threat of new Covid variants and the possibility of a winter surge, the right time for the inquiry to begin was spring.