PMQs: Boris Johnson commits to independent inquiry over coronavirus response

Johnson at the lab
Boris Johnson has committed to an independent inquiry over the response to coronavirus. Credit: PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed to an independent inquiry into the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at PMQs, Mr Johnson said: "I do not believe that now in the middle of combating, still as we are, a pandemic is the right moment to devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry."

"But of course... we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future," he added, in response to a question from Liberal Democrat's temporary leader Ed Davey.

Sir Ed said an inquiry was needed due to Britain having "suffered one of the worst death rates in the world" under the rule of Mr Johnson.

It came after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the prime minister of failing to prepare for a second peak of coronavirus, after a government commissioned report predicted almost 120,000 people could die without "urgent preparation".

Sir Keir said "July and August must be a period of intense preparation" for a second spike and criticised the government's track and trace system as currently not being good enough.

“It is vital that the Government learns the lessons from the mistakes that have been made and acts now to save lives for the future," he said in the Commons.

“One of the key recommendations in this report commissioned by the Government’s office for science, is that testing and tracing capacity will need to be significantly expanded to cope with increased demands over the winter.

“The reality is this – trace and track is not working as promised as it stands today.”

The prime minister responded, describing the UK’s Covid-19 test and trace system is “as good as or better than” any other system in the world.

"And yes, it will play a vital part in ensuring that we do not have a second spike this winter," he added.

Mr Johnson later claimed Sir Keir has “more briefs than Calvin Klein” as he attacked Sir Keir over a perceived lack of consistency.

It came after the Labour leader warned the PM is “kidding no-one” by claiming everything is a “stunning success” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Watch PMQs in full: