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by Joseph Anderson
12 October 2021
Labour demands Scottish Covid inquiry in wake of Westminster report

Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie of the Scottish Labour Party

Labour demands Scottish Covid inquiry in wake of Westminster report

Labour has repeated its calls for a Scottish Covid inquiry – following a damning report from Westminster outlining the UK Government’s failings in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously confirmed a judge-led independent public inquiry into the handling of Covid-19 in Scotland will be established by the end of the year, Scottish Labour is reiterating its call for “lessons to be learned”.

The UK Parliament’s joint committee report, published today, highlighted a catalogue of errors made by Westminster during the first stages of the coronavirus pandemic – particularly the “serious error” of delaying the first lockdown.  

Now, Scottish Labour is demanding that Holyrood launches its own detailed inquiry into Scottish Government Covid-19 failings.

Scottish Labour Health and Covid Recover spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Nicola Sturgeon ignored the same warnings as UK Ministers and with the same tragic outcome.

“At crucial points in the pandemic the UK and Scottish Governments were in lockstep – acting too slowly in response to the danger and failing to warn the public of the risk.

“But while England will benefit from the findings of this robust and detailed report, Scotland has been denied early findings of its own.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s own MPs helped deliver this analysis at Westminster while in Scotland they dither and delay on making sure her decisions are put under the microscope.

“Scotland deserves better.”

Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary and MP for Edinburgh South, said: “This is a devastating report on the catastrophic failings of the UK Government, which cost thousands of lives.

“Lessons must be learned both in England and here in Scotland, where the SNP made identical fatal errors.

“In fact, Nicola Sturgeon chose to overrule her own health advisers to cover-up an outbreak in Edinburgh - which is simply unforgiveable - and her government failed to act on warnings in readiness exercises, and even allowed older patients who had tested positive for Covid into care homes.

“Westminster’s committee system is robust in holding the UK Government to account, and there now needs to be a similar forensic approach taken in Scotland, including a rapid public inquiry.

“The people of Scotland deserve an apology from the First Minister for the cover-ups and the catastrophic errors made.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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