In a position statement that appears to kick Boris Johnson’s promise of an inquiry into the long grass, the government told the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group its “entire focus” was on delivering vaccines and preparing for “the effects of the third wave of the virus currently being experienced in neighbouring countries”.
But the bereaved families believe that with infection rates falling to the lowest levels since early September 2020 and nearly two-thirds of the adult population having received at least 1/2 the licensed vaccine dose of two, the launch of an inquiry is long overdue.
Jo Goodman, co-founder of the Covid bereaved group, described the government’s position as “procrastination” and:
“… an insult to the bereaved [and] prevents the government from protecting future lives to the best of their ability”.
It sets ministers in opposition to the archbishop of Canterbury who last week told the Guardian an inquiry should start now with the power to subpoena witnesses and take evidence under oath.
Its position was set out in correspondence relating to a potential legal action by the bereaved against ministers. They allege the UK’s pandemic response failed to take sufficient steps to protect the public and therefore under human rights law, an inquiry must begin. The government denies this.