Tories demand SNP commit to Scottish Covid-19 inquiry

The Scottish Conservatives have called on the Scottish Government to commit to holding a Scotland-specific inquiry into the handling of Covid-19.

Nicola Sturgeon should commit to a Scottish public inquiry in Covid-19, the Conservatives have said.

The demand comes as it appeared the SNP had ‘rowed back’ on its manifesto pledge to hold a “statutory, person-centred and human rights based public inquiry” into the handling of the pandemic.

In a comment to The Sun, a spokesperson said it would be “engaging with the UK Government” around a potential “four-nations” inquiry into the handling of Covid-19.

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It added that should this not begin within a year, only then would a Scottish inquiry be considered.

In the SNP’s manifesto, the party pledged: “‘We will commission a statutory, person centred and human rights based public inquiry into the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

"We will make sure the voices of families who have lost loved ones are heard as part of establishing the inquiry and that they have an active role in the process.

"We will begin to take the necessary steps to establish the public inquiry as soon as possible after the election.”

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, said: “Over 10,000 families across Scotland have lost loved ones to Covid and my thoughts are with them. They deserve answers immediately over the mistakes in relation to clinical decisions that were made by SNP Ministers during the pandemic.

“The SNP pledged in their manifesto that they would commission a public inquiry into how they handled coronavirus in Scotland. A week on from the election, they are already rowing back on that promise. They must clarify now whether they are going to commit to this inquiry, or whether this was simply a promise limited to the election period.

“Anything less than a specific inquiry in Scotland to learn the lessons from this crisis would be a dereliction of duty to grieving families. The Scottish Conservatives won cross-party support in Parliament in November calling for an inquiry into the scandal in our care homes, yet this has failed to be taken forward.

“SNP Ministers have shown a complacent attitude towards finding out what went wrong in our care home facilities. They must be pro-active and urgently commit to a public inquiry to ensure we never leave vulnerable people unprotected in this way ever again.”

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

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