It’s a huge relief to hear the prime minister commit to the statutory inquiry that bereaved families have been calling for – one with the power to compel witnesses. But there are still further steps needed to ensure we all get the answers we need as a country.
First and foremost any inquiry must involve bereaved families from the start, helping to choose the chair as well as determining the terms of reference. Whilst we welcome the prime minister’s assurances that bereaved families will be consulted on this, the devil will be in the detail.
Secondly, spring 2022 is simply too late to begin. It sounds like common sense when the prime minister says that an inquiry can wait until the pandemic is over, but lives are at stake with health experts and scientists warning of a third wave later this year. A rapid review in summer 2020 could have saved our loved ones who died in the second wave in winter.
We are ready to meet the government to start this dialogue right away and preparations must begin immediately.