Boris Johnson – 2022 Statement on the Covid-19 Inquiry

The statement made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 10 March 2022.

On 15 December I announced the appointment of the right hon. Baroness Heather Hallett DBE as chair of the forthcoming public inquiry into the covid-19 pandemic. In doing so, I made a commitment to consult Baroness Hallett and Ministers in the devolved Administrations on the terms of reference for the inquiry before publishing them in draft. This process is now complete, and I have today placed a copy of the draft terms of reference in the Library of the House and published them on gov.uk.

The terms of reference cover: preparedness; the public health response; the response in the health and care sector; and our economic response. Rightly, the terms of reference allow for an inquiry which is genuinely UK-wide, but which respects and does not duplicate any inquiry established on a devolved basis. Finally, the draft reflects the importance of the inquiry working to understand the experiences of those most affected by the pandemic—including bereaved families—as well as looking at any disparities evident in the impact of the pandemic and our response.

The inquiry will play a key role in learning the lessons from this terrible pandemic and in informing our preparations for the future. It is therefore vital that we get its terms of reference right and that people can have their say. To deliver this, Baroness Hallett will now lead a period of public engagement and consultation, which will last for four weeks. This process will inform further refinements to the terms of reference before they are finalised and the inquiry begins its important work.