Bereaved Covid-19 Families Say It's "Painful and Bleak" Listening To Cummings' Evidence On Pandemic
Bereaved families whose loved ones died from Covid-19 have described Dominic Cummings’ evidence on the government’s handling of the pandemic as painful, and demanded the official inquiry begins immediately.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, which works on behalf of 150,000 families across the country, said the account given by the Prime Minister’s former senior adviser on delayed decision making had been “bleak”.
Cummings told a joint session of the Commons’ science and technology and health committees today that tens of thousands of lives were lost unnecessarily and described a highly chaotic operation within Downing Street and a severe lack of planning.
The group, however, also criticised the way the former Vote Leave campaigner gave his evidence, citing his reference to meetings with senior Downing Street officials and the Prime Minister being like something from the film Independence Day. Cummings also cited Spiderman memes when describing scenes in No 10.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families group Tweeted: “That this information is being unveiled in a pantomime-style spat between Cummings and Johnson, littered with Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum and Spiderman references, is utterly inappropriate and makes this even more appalling.
“This spectacle is a million miles from that and has left many of the bereaved in tears of anger and pain today. The Government’s statutory inquiry now has to start immediately and include regular interim reporting.
“It is clear that there are incredibly serious questions to be asked of those in power, and that waiting until next year means the information will simply be leaked in an insensitive and hurtful manner – and even worse, lead to more unnecessary deaths.”
The government has said it will hold an independent inquiry into the pandemic in 2022. Johnson said that "amid such tragedy the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible" and "learn every lesson for the future".
Boris Johnson said he expected the right moment for the inquiry to begin is next spring because of new variants and the possibility of a winter surge mean the pandemic is not yet over.
He said: "This inquiry must be able to look at the events of the last year in the cold light of day and identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, Tweeted that the inquiry must be brought forward immediately considering the revelations in Cummings’ evidence.
He said: “I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for bereaved families to listen to Dominic Cummings’ evidence today. They deserve to know the whole truth and they deserve to know it now. The Prime Minister must set up the inquiry promised immediately. No more delays.”
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