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Coronavirus

UK’s PM Johnson announces public inquiry into govt’s handling of COVID-19

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Britain will hold a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic next year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

“This process will place the state’s actions under the microscope,” he told parliament.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

The inquiry will have the backing of legislation giving it far-reaching powers, Johnson said.

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Johnson had previously agreed to hold an inquiry but resisted pressure from opposition parties to begin it while the government was still handling the crisis, saying it was more important to focus on that and the subsequent recovery plan.

But speaking in parliament, he said the inquiry would begin in spring 2022 once some of the worst pressures had subsided to avoid diverting resources from the crisis response. He warned of the risk of a resurgence of the virus.

He did not set out the terms of reference for the inquiry, or who would lead it, saying it was necessary to consult with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on those issues.

PM wants ‘right’ person to chair COVID inquiry

Prime Minister Johnson wants to find the right chairperson to lead a "hugely important" inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his spokesman said on Wednesday, adding the British leader would give evidence if asked to do so.

“The prime minister wants to make sure we choose the right person for this hugely important inquiry,” the spokesman told reporters.

“What’s vital is that this hugely important inquiry is chaired by the right person with the right skill set to cover off all the angles of what’s been a very difficult time for the country,” he said, adding: “If asked to give evidence, he (the prime minister) will do so.”

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