Robert Brown welcomes Liberal Democrat success in Coronavirus Independent Enquiry

South Lanarkshire Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Robert Brown has welcomed the Prime Minister’s undertaking to hold an independent enquiry into the handling of the Coronavirus crisis. The promise came in response to demands from Ed Davie MP, the Liberal Democrat Acting Leader at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons this week.

Robert Brown said:

“It has been obvious for some time that a thorough and independent Enquiry into this devastating pandemic was absolutely necessary. Even on official figures, almost 300,000 people have been confirmed as contracting the virus and nearly 45,000 people have died from it across the UK – with almost 2,500 deaths in Scotland. So the Prime Minister’s agreement to Ed Davey’s request is an important concession. It looks like Britain had one of the highest infection rates in Europe and, proportionately one of the worst death rates in the world at 664 per million[1]. It is important to know why this was, not least so lessons can be learned for handling a return of the virus.

Here in Lanarkshire we had the 3rd highest infection rate in Scotland[2] (after Greater Glasgow and Lothian) so the Enquiry will be looked at very closely by local people here.

I accept entirely that the Enquiry must come when we are a little further out of the crisis but I strongly support the call by Ed Davey and others for decisions on how the Enquiry will be carried out and at least a provisional timetable. It must scrupulously examine how matters were dealt with in each of the nations of the United Kingdom – and also why many other countries like Germany appear to have done so much better on all fronts.

It is already clear that there were significant issues on the late timing of the lockdown, on the supply of protective equipment like masks, the chaotic arrangements for testing people and what happened to cause the high death rate in care homes. There were also highly questionable decisions such as the refusal to work with other European countries on procuring vital supplies.”

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