Sturgeon: Public inquiry into handling of pandemic should begin this year

Neil Pooran, PA Scotland Political Reporter
·2-min read

An inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic should get under way before the end of 2021, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In an interview with Channel 4 News due to air on Thursday evening, she said a public inquiry will be a priority if she is re-elected as First Minister in May’s Holyrood election.

She has previously acknowledged her Government has not got everything right in its response to the pandemic, and has said it is vital lessons are learned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is committed to holding an inquiry into the UK’s response to Covid-19 but a timescale has not been set.

Ms Sturgeon told Channel 4: “I had met just a number of days ago with the organisation that represents bereaved families.

“And what I said to them, and this has been reported publicly, is that it will be a priority if I am re-elected to set in train the steps necessary to establish a public inquiry.

“I think we’re the only Government in the UK that has actually said that.

“Public inquiries do take time to properly establish if they’re to do a proper job.

“But I want to see a public inquiry get under way later this year.”

The UK Government’s Welsh Secretary Simon Hart has previously said any UK coronavirus inquiry should also look at the role of the devolved administrations.

He told journalists last week: “The PM has been at pains to say this, there have been some moments when regional variations – where it’s been necessary perhaps to do something different in one part of the UK from the other – can be very sensible, where the evidence points.

“So I think it will be very interesting for an inquiry to reveal which are the ones where localised decision-making is a really good and helpful benefit, and which maybe have caused confusion.”