Government has ‘no capacity’ now for inquiry, bereaved families told

Support us and go ad-free

The Government has “no capacity” at present to launch a public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it has told bereaved families.

In a six-page letter, the government Legal Department told families that an inquiry “now is not appropriate”, and people who would need to give evidence are “working round the clock” to keep society safe.

“Not now”

Members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group were told that the Government is “focused entirely” on responding to the pandemic, in particular on the vaccination rollout and preparations for a third wave.

The letter, sent on 1 April, says the Government’s response is at a “critical phase” and all efforts are focused on this “monumental challenge”.

It adds that the Prime Minister

has already made clear that there will be an independent inquiry at the appropriate time, which is not now.

It reads: “There is simply no capacity for Government to pause these efforts and divert resources to an intensive independent inquiry.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

“The very people who would need to give evidence to an inquiry are working round the clock to respond to the pandemic and keep us all safe.

“It is not anticipated that the Government’s workload will ease in the coming months.

“The Prime Minister and Secretary of State are clear that there should be no diversion from the Government’s effort in responding to the virus.”

“Too busy”

The group is calling for an independent, judge-led inquiry with a rapid review so lessons can be learned in time for any third wave.

Co-founder Jo Goodman questioned how the Government can be “too busy to answer to a judge-led inquiry, and yet have time to conduct in-house parliamentary inquiries?”

She added:

“How long will grieving families be left without answers, without assurance that the mistakes that led to our loved ones’ deaths are not repeated? We are still living through the pandemic – procrastination is not only an insult to the bereaved, it also prevents the Government from protecting future lives to the best of their ability.

“Bodies piled high”

The group also hit out at claims, reported in the Daily Mail, that Boris Johnson said he would rather see “bodies piled high in their thousands” than order a third lockdown. The paper did not give a source for the allegation, which has been denied by ministers.

Matt Fowler, co-founder of the group, said: “It’s caused absolute uproar and outrage among members, they fear there is a flippancy attached”.

He added:

These callous comments will have caused untold hurt to hundreds of thousands of us across the whole of the country. This demonstrates exactly why an urgent inquiry is so vital, to understand the decisions, rationale and consideration in protecting our loved ones that the Government chose.

Story via PA News Service

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us