BORIS Johnson has announced an independent inquiry into the UK’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The Prime Minister insisted now was not the time to start analysing how well the Government has responded to the pandemic but pledged to have one in the future.
Mr Johnson told the House of Commons this lunchtime: “I do not believe that now, in the middle of combatting a pandemic, as we still are, is the right moment to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry.
“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.”
Many of the Government’s top ministers have also stressed that it is too soon to start calling for an inquiry into coronavirus.
There have been almost 45,000 deaths from coronavirus in the UK – the highest death toll in Europe.
A report for Government scientists this week said a second wave in the winter could kill 120,000 people.
One of the biggest issues MPs are keen to examine is how coronavirus wrought havoc in care homes.
Questioning the PM today, Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ed Davey said: “We have suffered one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe’s worst death rate for health and care workers.”
A report by the National Audit Office, assessing the readiness of the NHS and the social care sector for coronavirus, showed it was not known how many of the 25,000 people discharged from hospitals into care homes were infected with coronavirus.
A fifth of the nation’s most vulnerable people in care home have been infected by the deadly virus.
There are also questions surrounding the Government decision to go into lockdown weeks later than many other European countries.
The PM has backflipped on various policies, including face masks – which will be mandatory from July 24 – but were previously not used because of claims they did not work.
MPs have launched their own inquiry earlier this week with an All-Party Parliamentary Group, led by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.
Ms Moran said earlier this week: “From the neglect of care homes to the lack of an effective testing regime, each day brings more evidence of mistakes in the handling of this pandemic – and there is every indication that we will see a potential second spike this winter.
“The country and the NHS cannot afford for these errors to be repeated. There is no time to waste when it comes to learning the lessons from the UK response to the pandemic.
“This is why we are launching our parliamentary inquiry and will be taking evidence immediately.”