Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey has called for more focus on bereaved families as the government faces questions over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Davey’s call comes as a new report, published by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee, labelled the UK’s response to Covid-19 “one of the most important public health failures” the nation has ever experienced.
Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “This report chronicles an almost unimaginable crisis of governance in slow motion.
“The sheer scale of government failure is only beginning to come to light now and the tragedy for bereaved families is still very raw.”
The report claims both the government and its scientific advisors acted too slowly when introducing the first lockdown, a decision it claims cost lives in the process.
It also states that the UK’s test and trace system was slow and chaotic, and acted as a “drag anchor” to the nation’s response.
Davey added: “Perhaps the saddest and most abiding image of the pandemic was families watching a loved one’s funeral over a computer.
“As this report confirms, there were far more funerals than there needed to be, far too many people died.”
A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats told the Kingston Courier that the party was now focused on making sure a full inquiry takes place, and hopes that bereaved families can play a part in picking the chair of such an inquest.
The spokesperson said: “If you don’t get the right care in place now…families who have lost loved ones will have to fight for justice over decades.”
Meanwhile, cabinet minister Steve Barclay repeatedly refused to apologise when asked about the report.
Barclay, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster and minister for the cabinet office, told LBC: “We followed the scientific advice that we had at the time.
“What happened to individual families was obviously devastating…our hearts go out to them.”
The Conservative Party chairman, Oliver Dowden, said both he and the prime minister were sorry for the losses resulting from Covid-19.