Mark Drakeford is a “coward” for refusing to hold a Wales-only Covid inquiry says Delyn MP Rob Roberts
A Flintshire MP has called the first minister of Wales a “coward” for refusing to hold a Wales-only inquiry into the Welsh Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rob Roberts, the MP for Delyn has said Mark Drakeford “must do the right thing” and sanction a Wales-specific Covid inquiry, but said he won’t, “because he’s a coward.”
Opposition parties repeated calls for a Wales-only inquiry on Tuesday prompted by Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to hold an independent Covid inquiry in Scotland.
The proposed Scottish inquiry would be established by the end of the year Sturgeon announced, to “scrutinise decisions taken in the course of this pandemic, and learn lessons for future pandemics.”
Wales has suffered 5,658 of the UK’s recorded 131,854 deaths (within 28 days of a positive test) from Covid, but so far Drakeford has resisted calls for a Wales only inquiry.
The Welsh government has said that a UK wide inquiry – as promised by Boris Johnson – will “deal comprehensively” with the actions taken in Wales in the face of the pandemic.
Delyn MP Roberts – who now sits in Parliament as an Independent MP – said Mark Drakeford “has diverged from the policies of the UK Government at every opportunity.”
Roberts said the first minister of Wales, “has gone on record several times saying that the Prime Minister speaks only for England and that the Welsh Government is in control of what happens here. Yet he refuses to hold a Wales-only inquiry.”
“Why? Because he knows that a UK-wide inquiry will be heavily Westminster-focussed and he will be able to hide in the footnotes as the media focuses solely on what happened in London.”
“Welsh Labour are the only government in Britain refusing to hold a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.”
“The First Minister must do the right thing and announce a Wales-specific COVID inquiry immediately.”
“But he won’t, because he’s a coward.”
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice – Cymru group has also called on the Welsh government to “start an immediate Wales specific public statutory inquiry.
“They deserve to be properly scrutinised – not a footnote in a UK Government inquiry.”
“In light of the agreement in Scotland yesterday we would like to provide a statement from the bereaved families on why we want a Wales-specific inquiry.” Said Anna-Louise Marsh-Rees, the group co-lead.
Plaid Cymru and Welsh Conservatives have their say…
Plaid Cymru has said there is “no excuse” not to hold a Wales-only Covid inquiry.
The party’s 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.”
The Welsh Conservatives have said the first minister is blocking scrutiny, transparency and accountability by not sanctioning a Wales-only Covid Inquiry.
Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “The Scottish First Minister – like the Prime Minister – has done the right thing by announcing a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic by her government.”
“Regrettably in Wales, Labour and the First Minister have sought to block such scrutiny, transparency and accountability and it’s an unacceptable situation which cannot continue.”
“Decisions made in Wales – both good and bad – had a direct impact on lives and that cannot be dismissed by a Labour administration that was keen to stress at every opportunity that they have done things differently.”
“The calls from bereaved families in Wales are getting louder and louder, and the First Minister should now confirm that those people who’ve lost loved ones will receive the same respect from their government in Wales as in other parts of Britain.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We are considering the Scottish Government’s proposal alongside our continued engagement with the UK Government on the detail of the four-nation inquiry.”
“We are seeking commitment that the four-nation inquiry will deal comprehensively with the actions of the Welsh Government and the experiences of the people of Wales.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com