By Sam Rowlands

MS for North Wales

The first phase of the UK COVID inquiry has recently come to a close. There’ll be plenty more to come, but the opening batch of evidence has been hugely informative.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford gave evidence, as did then-Health Minister Vaughan Gething and other Welsh Government officials.

You might be thinking – why are Welsh Government Ministers giving evidence to the COVID inquiry in London? Didn’t the Welsh Government make decisions on pandemic restrictions, on face masks and everything else during COVID?

Unfortunately, the Labour Welsh Government in Cardiff have refused to hold a Wales-specific COVID inquiry. They were quite happy to make decisions and impose lockdowns in Wrexham and across Wales, but don’t want to be held to account in Wales!

The head of the UK COVID inquiry has made it clear they can’t devote as much time as they’d like to on Wales, because their main focus has to be on the UK Government’s decisions as they applied to England.

The Scottish Government has implemented an Scotland-specific COVID inquiry. I don’t often agree with the Scottish National Party, but it is entirely right that Nicola Sturgeon and other decision makers are put under extended scrutiny by a dedicated inquiry – not just as an add-on to another, bigger inquiry.

It sums up the Cardiff Labour Party – they loathe being held to account. If you saw any of the evidence sessions, you’d understand why.

The worst moment, and there were a few, was when Vaughan Gething admitted he hadn’t bothered to read a crucial UK government report on pandemic preparedness from 2016 when he was Health Minister. The report gave an insight into strengths and weaknesses ahead of a potential future pandemic, which of course came only a few years later.

Gething’s admission that “I did not read this report” is damning and sums up the attitude of Labour in Wales.

If you have any queries or issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can contact me by emailing or calling on 0300 200 7267.