At a constituency wide Zoom meeting held on February 19, Thirsk and Malton’s Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake said: “There is no doubt that we made mistakes through this process. I think will be a time and a place for a proper inquiry into exactly what’s gone wrong and why the UK has been very hard hit by this virus.”
Since then, we have had the BBC reporting what 20 of the most senior politicians, officials and former officials thought of the handling of the Covid pandemic.
The picture is one of chaos, complacency and a government clinging to dogma. The reporting details how ministers and officials became locked in arguments over how to respond, with the Prime Minister and many cabinet ministers reluctant to consider anything as draconian as a lockdown.
The British public have been told repeatedly that the government did not consider a herd immunity strategy yet it is reported that “there was a genuine argument in government, which everyone has subsequently denied”. One senior figure said, “There was even talk of ‘chicken pox parties’, where healthy people might be encouraged to gather to spread the disease.”
Even after the first lockdown the Conservative government continued to defy the science. The summer optimism and re-opening was “the biggest mistake - a rush of blood to the head”, another senior figure says. “The prime minister has to carry the can”.
Boris Johnson continues to defy the ever-increasing calls for an inquiry sooner rather than later.
Does he want to ‘move on’ and leave the government’s responsibilities behind?
It is sobering that the Conservatives consider this to be acceptable when more people have died in the UK since the beginning of December than did between February and December; a total now nearing 130,000 deaths.
Yes Mr Hollinrake, your government has “made mistakes” and we have a right to know why they were made. The 20 leading witnesses interviewed think that they know and after an inquiry the British people will know as well.
This inquiry cannot come soon enough.