Government Response to Covid-19: Public Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 22nd July 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jack Dromey Jack Dromey Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) 2:37 pm, 22nd July 2021

I would like to start by reading out a testament from Jane Roche from Castle Vale in my constituency. She lost her father and sister to coronavirus last year. She says:

“Losing my amazing Dad, Vincent Pettitt, and my amazing Sister Jocelyn Pettitt just 5 days apart has been the hardest thing to deal with in my life so far, and I am still grieving and will always grieve for them as they didn’t die in a natural dignified way with their family around them, telling them how much we loved them. We were such a close family.

My Dad was such a lovely man, no fool and strong in every way, I always felt loved and protected by him, he was so funny and had a very dry sense of humour, always making people laugh, his will to live was amazing, he fought other illnesses but always fought on.

My Sister was beautiful inside and out, very kind and loving, a wonderful Mother and Grandmother and her 3rd Grandchild was due to be born a month after she died so she never got to meet him and she was really looking forward to it. I feel robbed of Dad and my Sister as they were snatched away by Covid-19.”

She goes on:

“Only someone who has lost their loved one to Covid would understand how I feel, and unfortunately there are thousands of us. I feel heartbroken and I always will, I feel anxious most days and cry most days, and I miss them so very much…I need the Public Inquiry to happen this year, dragging it out until next year only makes me angry and the grief is made worse by thinking that nobody cares about all the people that have died from Covid…This has changed my life forever, I always feel like something bad is going to happen as I would never have expected this double tragedy last April. I will never get over this.”

The voice of the relatives; the voice of loss; the voice of pain—a voice that should be listened to.

I thank all hon. and right hon. Members who have contributed to this debate from across the House of Commons and those who participated in the work of the Committee, leading to the recommendations before us. I particularly thank Mr Wragg, who chairs the Committee; Jackie Doyle-Price, who gave a comprehensive report today; and Members, including Sir Bernard Jenkin, who have made contributions on the importance of learning lessons now if we are to avoid mistakes in the future.

The Committee’s report calls for a public inquiry into the Government’s response to covid-19 to begin immediately. We owe it to the families that this happens. The covid-19 public inquiry should be a landmark event in our nation’s history.