Evidence heard at Covid-19 inquiry ‘shocking indictment’ of Government – Starmer

The evidence heard at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry in recent days is a “shocking indictment” of the Government, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

A week of high-profile witnesses, including former top Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings and ex-civil servant Helen MacNamara, revealed the dysfunction, indecision and dithering inside Boris Johnson’s government.

It also saw claims of a “toxic” culture inside Downing Street, as Mr Johnson and top officials grappled with the spread of the virus.

Other key witnesses, including former cabinet secretary Lord Sedwill and former home secretary Dame Priti Patel, will appear before Lady Hallett’s probe next week.

Sir Keir (pictured), speaking at a North East Chamber of Commerce event, said questions needed to be answered.

He said: “The mismatch between that behaviour and the behaviour that goes on in other environments is huge.

“Obviously, we need all the questions to be answered. We’re only at the foothills of the evidence so far.

“But those with the most searching questions are those who lost loved ones, and in particular those that lost loved ones when they couldn’t see them for the last time.

“Everybody in this room will have been touched by what happened in that period. And I think the Government needs to account to them for the way in which it conducted itself.

“But there is a shocking mismatch between the behaviour that we are seeing described and the behaviour that I and everybody in this room would expect in the environment in which they work.

“And the sooner this Government is held to account for that, the better.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2023, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA.