Tonight the Welsh Liberal Democrats have added their voice to those supporting an independent Welsh COVID-19 inquiry following the decision by Party Leader Jane Dodds MS to back a motion tabled calling for an independent Welsh COVID-19 inquiry.
Jane Dodds had previously supported the Welsh Government’s rationale for holding a UK wide inquiry, being assured that it will thoroughly consider the context in Wales, but has now stated she no longer has faith in the UK Government to give the Senedd and Wales full consideration in the report. She also stated that concerns that devolution was being undermined had not been addressed and that it is important that if Wales is to hold powers over health, it takes full responsibility for them.
Commenting Jane Dodds said:
“At the beginning of this Senedd term, I voted with the Government having being persuaded by the First Minister that a UK inquiry would adequately and thoroughly consider the context in Wales.
“However, having met with the Bereaved Families for Justice group over the summer I have been moved by their testimonies which explained why a Wales-specific inquiry was so important to them, and believe that it is important that the voices of those families here in Wales are given prominence in the process.”
“Whilst I still trust that the First Minister to continue to push the UK Government to ensure that the UK Inquiry is of adequate scope and thoroughly considers decisions taken in Wales, I no longer have faith that the UK Government will give the Senedd and Wales with proper and fair consideration.
“In addition, given that devolution and inter-governmental relations largely operate on the basis of trust and good faith, I do not believe that the UK Government has given any indication that it intends to operate on that basis. I am also becoming increasingly concerned of the attempts of the UK Conservative Government to undermine the devolution settlement, and believe only a Welsh inquiry will consider the implications of UK Government decisions on Wales in a balanced manner.
“Whilst supporting a Welsh COVID-19 inquiry, I will continue to fight for assurances that cross-border healthcare on the border regions also comes under adequate scrutiny. With a large number of patients from areas like Powys and Monmouthshire being treated in England, it is vital we get answers for them too.
“I also see no reason why UK Government policies that affected Wales, such as decisions over the border cannot also be examined in a UK inquiry mentioning its impact on Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“The purpose of an independent Wales Inquiry is not to apportion blame, but to learn lessons for the future.”