The Liberal Democrat leader dismissed strong polling for the Conservatives in UK-wide polls, and claimed they will be in for a “shock” when an inquiry begins.
Speaking to The Scotsman ahead of his party’s spring conference, Sir Ed claimed they had tried to be constructive, but demanded the Prime Minister now be held accountable.
He said: “I think we do need an independent inquiry public inquiry to this, and I made the argument and was the only leader to do so and I got Johnson to commit to it.
“And when we come to that inquiry then the number of deaths I think people will see as shocking.
“I think it is genuinely shocking and I'm a deeply alarmed that we are one of the worst countries in the world in terms of the death rate.
“People are going to have to ask why.
"I don’t want to prejudge the inquiry but the Government was late to the first lockdown, late to the second lockdown, and late to the third lockdown.
"Their failure to understand the link between care and the NHS resulted in a significant number of deaths in care homes.”
Sir Ed claimed the “pandemic has put politics on hold a little bit”, but suggested once we were through it public opinion would turn against the UK Government.
He said: "In the last two weeks we have a Government that has raised tax on hardworking families, cut pay of nurses, curved our ability to protest.
“I think there will be an increasing focus on Boris Johnson’s incompetent Government in a way that there hasn’t been because people have been so focused on staying safe.”
The Lib Dem leader also revealed what he was most looking forward to seeing in Scotland when restrictions were lifted.
He said: “I want to see and meet lots of new Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs who have prevented a push for a second referendum and are working in partnership with others to put the recovery first.”