In response to Dominic Cummings’ evidence in Parliament today, Jane Roche, a leading member of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign, has called for the start date of the public inquiry to be brought forward in order to prevent further deaths this winter.

Giving evidence to a joint session of the Commons Heath, and Science and Technology committees, Dominic Cummings has today launched a scathing assessment of the Government’s preparation and management of the Covid-19 pandemic. He outlined numerous failings ranging from Boris Johnson not taking Covid seriously from the outset, to a failure to protect those in care homes from the virus.

In what may be the most shocking evidence given today, Cummings claimed that Boris Johnson suggested that Chris Whitty inject him with Covid on live TV to show the public the virus was nothing to be scared of – proving the careless manner with which the Prime Minister was treating the situation at the onset of the crisis.

He also claimed that the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, promised Ministers hospital patients would be tested before being discharged to care homes, something Cummings claims is “complete nonsense”.

The Government’s handling of the Covid pandemic has come under scrutiny for some time and today’s revelations will only add to the growing criticism.

Cummings also claimed that “tens of thousands of people died, who didn’t need to die” – something that came as no surprise to bereaved families who have been calling for a public inquiry into the Government’s handling of Covid-19 for almost a year.

Jane Roche, whose father and sister died of Covid 5 days apart, says that the severe failings outlined today proves the need for the public inquiry to start as soon as possible in order for the Government to “learn lessons” and to “prevent more families losing loved ones”.

Jane Roche, bereaved family member and campaigner, said:

“Dominic Cummings’ evidence in Parliament today shows that the Government failed to take the pandemic seriously and lives were lost as a result.

“Right from the very start, Boris Johnson never took Covid seriously and it led to complacency in Government that caused the virus to spread. The claims that he joked about getting Chris Whitty to inject him with Covid on live TV are appalling and, if true, he should be utterly ashamed of himself.

“Whether it be the failure to protect care home residents or the failure to implement a proper border policy, decisions taken by Government worsened the extent of the pandemic and led to more deaths.

“For the Prime Minister’s most senior advisor to claim that ‘tens of thousands of people died, who didn’t need to die’ is extraordinary and it highlights the need for a wide-ranging public inquiry into the handling of the crisis.

“However, we cannot wait until next year for the inquiry to start. It must begin as soon as possible, and no later than this summer, in order for us to learn lessons and to prevent more families losing loved ones, like my family did, if we experience a third wave this winter.”

Jack Dromey, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington, said:

“Dominic Cummings has laid bare shocking revelations in relation to the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. A deadly combination of complacency, deceit, and incompetence caused the scale of the crisis we experienced and, ultimately, led to tens of thousands of preventable deaths.

“It is now vital the Government learn the lessons from the pandemic so far as we brace ourselves for a potential third wave of the virus this winter. That can only be done by an independent public inquiry, including a rapid review phase, that starts as soon as possible.

“There is no reason to delay. The public inquiry must start this summer, after all restrictions are lifted, otherwise the Government risks making the same mistakes and more families will lose loved ones.”

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