The first public hearings as part of the investigation into the British government’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed at least 220,000 lives since March 2020, will begin on Tuesday 13 June in London. Firing Boris Johnson late, in July 2022, after months of pressure on the victims’ families’ associations, this investigation is the most ambitious of its kind launched in the UK. It has already been compared to the Bloody Sunday massacre, the British Army’s massacre of Irish civilians, in Derry/Londonderry in 1972. Decided on by Tony Blair in 1998, it lasted ten years, and cost over £200 million to the British taxpayer, but was an important step in the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland.
Chaired by a respected judge – former Court of Appeal judge Baroness Heather Hallett, who led the inquiry into the London attacks of 7 July 2005 – this commission of inquiry into the management of the Covid-19 pandemic has no power to bring criminal or civil charges against individuals, and its recommendations are indicative only.
But she has great powers: she can call people to testify under oath, and demand all documents “relevant” in the course of her work, including private correspondence. Experts, lawyers and crisis management professionals will be heard for the first time this week, as will Sir Michael Marmot, a leading specialist on health inequalities, on 16 June.
Investigations until 2026
But as part of the commission’s work on the country’s state of preparedness when the pandemic hit in March 2020, key policymakers are also likely to be interviewed by mid-July: those who presided over the UK’s fate in 2010, when the country should have been on alert. The Commission only publishes a schedule of hearings from week to week, but all national media expect subpoenas from former Prime Minister (between 2010 and 2016) David Cameron, from Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, or Minister for Health between 2012 and 2018, Jeremy Hunt , the current Finance Minister to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Over the next three modules – decision-making and political governance, the impact of the pandemic on health systems, and finally vaccination campaigns and treatments – former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, or Rishi Sunak, his adviser again to the Treasury until mid-2022. In summer 2020 , to help revive the completely devastated hotel and restaurant sector, Mr. Sunak has upgraded “Eating out to help”, A system of discounts to motivate Britons to consume, which has been criticized for contributing to the second wave of infection …
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