In a House of Commons debate yesterday, 24 February 2022, Heather Wheeler of the Cabinet Office answered questions from Afzal Khan (Shadow Minister (Justice)), Marsha de Cordova (Labour, Battersea) and Fleur Anderson (Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)) regarding the Covid-19 Inquiry.
In addition to the information already in the public domain, Ms Wheeler confirmed that the Prime Minister has now consulted Baroness Hallett on the Inquiry’s terms of reference, and that the process of consulting the devolved administrations is “well advanced”. She went on to say that the next stage will be to ensure that those most affected by the pandemic, including those who have lost loved ones, can have their say on the terms of reference, a process which she said will “begin and conclude very soon”. While there can be no certainty as to what these words mean, we are of the view that those wishing to contribute to the terms of reference of the Inquiry should be prepared to act quickly once the consultation is opened and that that could now be imminent.
Ms Wheeler also seemed to confirm that the Inquiry will have a specific focus on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on disabled people, following a question from Ms de Cordova.
We will, of course, continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available. In the meantime, please do contact us if you would like to discuss your organisation’s specific situation.