Boris Johnson says coronavirus inquiry would be a ‘waste of official time’ during Commons committee grilling
Boris Johnson has refused to say when his government will launch a coronavirus inquiry.
The prime minister said it would “not be a good use of official time” to launch an inquiry.
Appearing in front of the all-powerful Liaison Committee, Johnson said: “Of course, we will have an inquiry into everything that has gone wrong and gone right. We will try to work out what would be better in the future, but, I have to say that would not be a good use of official time at the moment.
“We’ve just had an official discussion about the very pressing need to ramp up our testing operations and a huge number of officials around the country are involved in that right now.”
Tory MP William Wragg pressed: “Announcing an inquiry now would mean it would probably start in the new year so, what is the impediment of getting that background work underway?”
Johnson said the civil service was too busy responding to the coronavirus to deal with an inquiry.
“Is there any further thoughts in terms of lessons learnt and could you give some key examples and how they’ve been implemented?” Wragg continued.
- 1 The greatest failure of government in our lifetime
- 2 The bigot we should have called out on day one
- 3 The polling that signals the plight of the Union
- 4 Matt Hancock praises free school meals before being reminded he voted against them
- 5 Brexiteer MP ridiculed after calling for free movement of goods between GB and NI
- 6 Brexiteer says he'd never have voted for Brexit 'if we knew we'd lose our jobs'
- 7 Nigel Farage launches new party in Scotland to promote 'positive case for the Union'
- 8 Boris Johnson claims Labour supporters using Universal Credit vote to incite hatred
- 9 James O'Brien schools Brexiteer who refuses to accept new EU-UK trade rules
- 10 Brexit changes lead to exodus of Brits from Spain, UK nationals claim
“I wouldn’t want to anticipate the work of any such inquiry,” Johnson said before saying that the government’s understanding of asymptomatic cases had changed.
On civil service reform, Johnson said he anticipated new reforms that would build the “speed” at which the civil service responds to urgent issues.
Wragg asked: “So, any such reform would not alter that fundamental established relationship between ministers and civil servants?”.
Johnson insisted it wouldn’t when Wragg chimed in with: “So when must a minister resign instead of their officials?”
“I think ministers should be responsible and I, a minister for the civil service, should take full responsibility for what the government does,” replied the prime minister.
“So, for a minister to resign does it require a failure of policy of a failure of its implementation?”
Johnson stammered: “I think a minister is obviously accountable for all failures the government can be blamed for.”
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.