Closed petition Hold a Public Inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 crisis

The Government should hold a Public Inquiry to Confirm what decisions were made around preventing the spread of the coronavirus and protection of the UK population, and how this was balanced with the level of health care services available and effects on the economy.

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Open a Public Inquiry into the decisions made, the ratification and justification of the decisions made, demonstrating where a mandate from the people was used around the decision making and actions taken.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 15 September 2020

There will be an important moment to look back, analyse, reflect and to learn lessons. As the Prime Minister has said, this will include an independent inquiry at the appropriate time.

Read the response in full

COVID-19 is the biggest challenge the UK, together with nations around the world, has faced in decades. The Government, the NHS, the public and private sectors, and many more, have been working day and night in the fight against the virus.

The Government has said consistently that there will be a moment to look back and learn lessons from our response to this unprecedented pandemic. The Prime Minister also confirmed this will mean an independent inquiry at the appropriate time. But currently - as we still continue to work to keep the virus under control, thanks to the sacrifices millions of members of the public have made - the Government is rightly focused on protecting public health and saving lives.

The important thing - the right thing - is not to lose focus but to continue to respond to the current dynamic and developing situation and on the important progress we are making, such as on new treatments and helping the economy bounce back. The Government set out its strategic response to COVID-19 in “Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy” - available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governmentscovid-19-recovery-strategy/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy.

The Government has been clear from the outset that its approach has been guided by science and the Government continues to rely on and consult the latest scientific developments in order to make decisions. Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister, have pointed to this during their daily press conferences setting out the response and approach to date.

The Government is committed to transparency and on a regular basis publishes data that underpins its decision making, this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. The Government will continue to share documents with Parliament and the public when it is appropriate to do so.

The fact that this is a new virus means a key feature of the response, from the start, has inherently been a continuous and active process of learning, reviewing, adapting and responding as we discover more about how the virus works in light of the latest science and available data. Relevant information about the role of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), including its role in the response, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-foremergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Cabinet Office

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/302576)

Other parliamentary business

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips

Original Government Response

The response to a new virus inherently involves a continuous process of learning, adapting and responding. Government regularly publishes data that underpins its decision making on GOV.UK.

COVID-19 is the biggest challenge the UK, together with nations around the world, has faced in decades. The Government, the NHS, the public and private sectors, and many more, have been working day and night in the fight against the virus.

The Government has been clear from the outset that its approach has been guided by science and the Government continues to rely on and consult the latest scientific developments in order to make decisions. Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister, have pointed to this during their press conferences setting out the response and approach to date. The Government has also been working with, and consulting widely with, businesses and organisations throughout the pandemic and continues to receive expert science advice from SAGE, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser.

The Government is committed to transparency and on a regular basis publishes data that underpins its decision making, this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. The Government will continue to share documents with Parliament and the public when it is appropriate to do so.

The fact that this is a new virus means a key feature of the response, from the start, has inherently been a continuous and active process of learning, reviewing, adapting and responding as we discover more about how the virus works in light of the latest science and available data. Relevant information about the role of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), including its role in the response, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sagecoronavirus-covid-19-response

There will be opportunities to look back, analyse and reflect on all aspects of COVID-19. However, at this critical phase, the focus of the Government continues to be on responding to the pandemic.

Cabinet Office

This response was given on 7 July 2020. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.