Downing Street today refused to rule out a Covid-19 inquiry reporting after the next General Election.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed, during a speech in the Commons on Wednesday, an inquiry would start in spring 2022 and have legal powers to take oral evidence in public under oath.
Mr Johnson said the inquiry will place the state’s actions “under the microscope” and the Government will coordinate with devolved administrations before finalising its terms.
He said: “The Prime Minister has said that he wants to learn lessons quickly...he wants this to be done in a reasonable timescale.”
He said the inquiry would start in spring 2022 because the country would be coming out of winter when there could be another rise of coronavirus infections.
There was no timescale yet for the appointment of the inquiry chair or the terms of reference which could influence how long the probe would take.
In setting out the details of the inquiry the Prime Minister said the “state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible, and to learn every lesson for the future”.
“Which is why I’ve always said when the time is right there should be a full and independent inquiry.”
He also pledged his support for a Covid memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral and said the Government will establish a commission on commemorating the pandemic.
No10 also made clear that Mr Johnson would be prepared to give evidence to the inquiry under oath.