Covid inquiry: What’s it and the way will it work?

Boris Johnson wearing mask in a hospital


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Boris Johnson has announced an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

He told MPs it would examine the decisions “in the cold light of day” and “identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future”.

What is a public inquiry?

A public inquiry is a major investigation, launched by the government.

Its job is to respond to “public concern” about a particular event or set of events – such as the pandemic.

According to a leading specialist lawyer, it must ask three questions:

  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen and who is to blame?
  • What can be done to prevent it happening again?

An inquiry has the power to make people appear as witnesses, and to provide documentation and material evidence.

At the end, the public inquiry usually draws up a report and makes recommendations to the government.

Previous high-profile public inquiries have included investigations into the UK’s role in the Iraq war, the events of…