Have your say: Should there be a public inquiry into the UK's handling of the COVID pandemic?

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2-min read

With over 125,000 deaths from COVID in the UK, a new poll has found that the public is in favour of a public inquiry into the government’s response to the pandemic.

According to a poll for The Guardian, 47% of people support an independent investigation into decisions made during the pandemic, with 18% opposed to the idea.

The ICM poll also found that 35% neither supported or opposed an inquiry or didn’t know.

It comes as recent government figures showed there have been over 125,000 deaths from COVID since the pandemic begun.

Boris Johnson has already signalled that a public inquiry into the UK’s handling of COVID would go ahead but has yet to announce when it would take place.

He told MPs in July last year: "I do not believe that now, in the middle of combating a pandemic, is the right moment to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry.

"But of course we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened.”

Speaking today, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was “premature” to start thinking about dates of an inquiry.

He told Sky News: “Personally I think that what we have to do is get through the road map and reopen the economy and then once the economy is reopened, once we’ve got through the worst of the pandemic, then we can have a debate.

“I am sure there will be plenty of room for an inquiry, but it seems premature to launch an inquiry when the pandemic is still all around us.”

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the National Express depot in Coventry, central England, Monday March 15, 2021. The Prime Minister is unveiling a shake-up of the bus sector which aims to see lower, simpler flat fares in towns and cities. (Steve Parsons/Pool via AP)
Boris Johnson has yet to announce a date for a public inquiry into the UK's handling of the pandemic to begin. (AP)

However, with the vaccine rollout reducing cases and deaths, and with lockdown restrictions easing in the coming months, pressure is mounting on the prime minister to announce the inquiry.

Jo Goodman, a co-founder of the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, is threatening legal action to force ministers to launch an inquiry.

She told The Guardian: “It’s not just us bereaved families – there are millions of people around the country who want answers.

“An urgent statutory public inquiry is essential if we are to learn lessons and save lives now and in the future.”

Read more: Boris Johnson resists pandemic inquiry as hospitals likened to war zone

Watch: How England will leave lockdown