Covid Scotland: Inquiry must be transparent to resolve nation's trauma, Deputy Lib Dem leader says

The inquiry into the UK Government’s handling of the pandemic must be transparent to help resolve the nation's trauma, the Deputy Liberal Democrats leader has claimed.

Daisy Cooper criticised the Met investigation into ‘Partygate’ and claimed the public were losing faith in Britain’s institutions because of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Ms Cooper also claimed it was not the parties themselves turning people against the Prime Minister, but instead the “lying and cover-up”.

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She said: “The inquiries by both Sue Gray and the Met raise very serious questions about the investigations.

Daisy Cooper said the inquiry into Covid must be transparent.Daisy Cooper said the inquiry into Covid must be transparent.
Daisy Cooper said the inquiry into Covid must be transparent.

”Sue Gray did what she was supposed to do. She was asked to establish a broad brush.

“The idea that her report could be thorough wasn’t there in the first place.

“However, many of us hoped that the Met inquiry would have more transparency around it.

"It’s very confusing for many people why Boris Johnson was not fined when he attended an event that other people were fined for.

“With the Covid inquiry, we owe it to so many people that it is transparent.

"Think back to all the nurses sent to work armed without PPE [personal protective equipment], the flip-flopping over whether schools should open or not, and all those people who were separated from loved ones, whether women giving birth or the elderly in care homes.

“If that report is not thorough and transparent, pent-up trauma won’t be resolved.”

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Last year the Government confirmed there would be an independent public inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic, something first pushed for by the Lib Dems.

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Despite questions over the Met inquiry, Ms Cooper claimed she was “frustrated, not disheartened” and believed the “truth will out”.

She pointed to the privileges committee investigation into the Prime Minister, and suggested partygate was not over.

The St Albans MP explained: “There is still an inquiry left with the privileges committee and we have to make sure that the pillars of our democracy do retain public trust.

“It is very clear that Boris Johnson has done huge damage to our institutions, government, reputation and the office of prime minister.

“There are so many public services at breaking point, but the oxygen of Parliament is sucked up by the infighting of the Tory party.”

The Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman said the Partygate issue kept coming up on the doorstep, with it “not so much the parties as the lying”.

She said: “It’s the lying and the cover-up and the sense that it’s been dragging on so long because the Prime Minister hasn’t come clean.

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"There has been a simmering discontent over all those Tory MPs who said they would wait for Sue Gray, waiting, waiting and waiting only to now go completely to ground.

"Nobody really knows what Boris Johnson or the Conservatives stand for any more. They are just clinging onto power and it’s clear all MPs have been briefed to be careful what they say when speaking out.”

Ms Cooper accused the Tories of “defending the indefensible”, but being more critical of the Prime Minister in private. A total of 18 MPs have publicly admitted to submitting no-confidence letters in the Prime Minister to the 1922 Committee.

She said: “Some Tory MPs are more angry off-air and when you’re off-air, you can speak your mind a bit more freely.”



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