MP Abrahams urges Government not to kick independent Covid inquiry "into the long grass"

Date published: 22 March 2021

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has urged the Government not to kick an independent public inquiry on Covid “into the long grass”.

Speaking in the Commons during weekly Business Questions, Ms Abrahams said: “It is absolutely right that, as we emerge from this pandemic, we need to learn lessons.

"In particular, we need to understand the reasons for the UK’s “high and unequal” Covid death toll, as described by Professor Sir Michael Marmot."

The local MP added: “I sense that ….. the Leader of the House was wanting to kick it into the long grass.

"An inquiry may not be in the interests of the Government, but it is most certainly in the interests of the country.”

Ms Abrahams called on the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to schedule, in Government time, a debate to help define the scope of an independent public inquiry into the pandemic.

Speaking after Questions, Ms Abrahams said: “I was extremely disappointed with the Leader of the House’s refusal to look at even defining the scope of an independent public inquiry. 

“I believe there should be a full public inquiry to learn the lessons of the Covid pandemic, and the Government should work with NHS workers, bereaved families and others what the inquiry should be involve.

“I am worried that the Government are seeking to delay and kick the issue into the long grass when there is a road map out of the pandemic.

"Now is the time to plan for such an inquiry, so that we can get this underway in the autumn.

"We have the Chilcot and Hillsborough inquiries to draw from as to how an Inquiry can be started in this parliament.

“Given the high and unequal Covid death toll defined by Prof Sir Michael Marmot, justice delayed will be justice denied. 

"In addition, delays also risk failing to learn the lessons from the pandemic quickly and effectively.”

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