The Prime Minister told MPs he does not believe now is the right time for such an investigation but it will happen in the future.
Speaking in the Commons, Liberal Democrat acting co-leader Sir Ed Davey said: "Under this PM we suffered one of the worst death rates in the world and Europe's worst death rate for health and care workers.
"Previously he's refused my demand for an immediate independent inquiry, saying it's too soon, even though back in 2003 he voted for an independent inquiry into the Iraq war just months after that conflict had started.
"If he still rejects an immediate inquiry, will he instead commit in principle to a future public inquiry, yes or no?"
Mr Johnson replied: "As I've told the House several times, I do not believe that now in the middle of combating, still as we are, a pandemic is the right moment to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry, but of course we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened."
The Prime Minister’s spokesman later added that an inquiry could not take place while the UK was “still combating the pandemic”. Nicola Sturgeon has already said an investigation of the Scottish Government’s actions will take place.
Speaking after PMQs, Mr Davey said: "It is clear the Government has failed on so many fronts - failing to prepare properly for a pandemic, failing to protect care home residents and social care workers, and failing to properly communicate their plans and so much more.
“With so many loved ones lost, people deserve to know what happened. After months of refusing the public that opportunity, I am pleased the Prime Minister has finally accepted Liberal Democrat demands for an independent inquiry.
“The Prime Minister must now set out the timetable of this inquiry, and it must begin as soon as possible. The Government must be held to account to ensure that the same mistakes are never repeated.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.