Wednesday 1st December 2021: The People’s Covid Inquiry has accused the Government of ‘misconduct in public office’ over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic which led to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths.
On Wednesday 1 December, the People’s Covid Inquiry organised by Keep Our NHS Public presented the finished report.
In the absence of a formal public inquiry into the pandemic, The People’s Covid Inquiry began in February 2021, took place over 9 sessions and concluded it’s hearings in the summer. It covered all aspects of the government’s handling of the pandemic and heard testimony from a wide range of people and organisations. These included previous government advisors and key academics, as well as frontline workers and bereaved family members. The Inquiry was chaired by world renowned human rights barrister Michael Mansfield QC who, together with a panel of experts, delivered their findings and recommendations on all main aspects of the pandemic to date.
Byline Times (1st January 2021) This Lawyer Thinks Boris Johnson Could be Prosecuted for Misconduct: Here’s Why & How
The Mirror (1st December 2021) Tories guilty of ‘misconduct’ over thousands of Covid deaths, major report finds
Evening Standard (1st December 2021) Government accused of ‘misconduct in public office’ over pandemic handling
Mail Online (1st December 2021) Government accused of `misconduct in public office´ over pandemic handling
21st December 2021: Co-Chairs of National KONP have written to Police Commissioner Cressida Dick re Governments gross negligence and misconduct in public office.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan and Dr John Puntis, Co-Chairs of National KONP, have written to Police Commissioner Cressida Dick re Governments gross negligence and misconduct in public office, requesting that she authorises an investigation of the facts uncovered by the People’s Covid Inquiry, with a view to considering prosecutions. Misconduct in public office is an offence under common law defined as where there is wilful neglect of duty ‘to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.’ The report also suggests there may be the offence of corporate manslaughter.
to read the letter from Co-Chairs Dr Tony O’Sullivan and Dr John Puntis
National KONP 22nd December 2021 Will Met investigate misconduct in public office?
Morning Star (21st December 2021) Tory ministers reported to the police over their mishandling of the pandemic
KEY FINDINGS OF THE PEOPLE’S COVID INQUIRY INCLUDE:
1. The depleted state of the NHS and other public services prior to the pandemic was a determining factor in poor outcomes and led to avoidable deaths.
2. The government was poorly prepared for the pandemic and moved too slowly, which led to avoidable death.
3. The government adopted the wrong strategy leading to loss of life and growing mistrust in its advice.
4. The government’s poor record on inequalities has put the most vulnerable at risk from illness and death from Covid-19.
5. Misconduct in public office: There has been dismal failure in the face of manifestly obvious risks.
The report has received a huge amount of press interest – a section of which you can read by looking at the press page on the People’s Covid Inquiry website.
Michael Mansfield QC, chair of The People’s Covid Inquiry said:
“This People’s Covid Inquiry report is unequivocal – dismal failure in the face of manifestly obvious risks…This Inquiry performed a much-needed and urgent public service when the nation was hit by a catastrophic pandemic coincident with an unprecedented period of democratic deficiency. It afforded an opportunity for the beleaguered citizen to be heard; for the victims to be addressed; for the frontline workers to be recognised; and for independent experts to be respected. When it mattered most and when lives could have been saved, the various postures adopted by government could not sustain scrutiny.”
“It was plain to Keep Our NHS Public (the organisers of the People’s Covid Inquiry) that Government words were bloated hot air, hoping to delay and obfuscate. Within this narrative lies a theme of behaviour amounting to gross negligence by the Government, whether examined singularly or collectively. There were lives lost and lives devastated, which was foreseeable and preventable. From lack of preparation and coherent policy, unconscionable delay, through to preferred and wasteful procurement, to ministers themselves breaking the rules, the misconduct is earth-shattering”.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public and retired Consultant Paediatrician, said:
“We are proud that our Inquiry filled the deafening silence from Government and set out to learn the lessons that could save lives in this and future pandemics. We are shocked at the avoidable loss of tens of thousands of lives through the neglect of pandemic planning, the run down of the NHS, and the intense inequality in this country. We heard the pride of NHS, care and other frontline staff and we heard about their pain, exhaustion and moral injury. The level of government cronyism and resultant profiteering has been blatant and in plain sight. Our overall conclusion is that there has been misconduct in public office. This has to be addressed. If we ignore it, the country cannot learn the lessons from today to face the challenge of tomorrow”.
Read The People’s Covid Inquiry Report: “Misconduct in Public Office”
To download “Misconduct in Public Office” (Executive Summary) pdf
To download “Misconduct in Public Office” (Full Report) pdf
Also: Click here for press coverage of the launch of the Full Report, and click here for The Peoples Covid Inquiry website, and to watch the Inquiry sessions.
The pandemic is not over, and despite previous improvements, infection rates and death tolls are once again rising. As winter approaches and the Omicron Variant takes hold, the government must act now or more avoidable deaths will occur.
With political will and public support, there is no reason we can’t still emerge from the pandemic with an NHS that is not on the brink of collapse as it is now, but having learned lessons, gained experience, and seen proper investment in a publicly provided health-and-care service, in order to keep the nation safe as and when another crisis like this occurs.
Keep Our NHS Public North East: what we can do
The People’s Covid Inquiry and the final Full Report comprise a thorough, comprehensive and damning account of the Governments handling of the Covid 19 pandemic. This Inquiry should, indeed, have been promptly carried out by the Government – but this has been consistently avoided.
Our thanks go to national Keep Our NHS Public for all of their hard work in gathering this huge body of evidence, to the contributors for standing up and being counted, and to all involved in bringing this information into the public domain. At our KONPNE meeting of 2nd December 2021, it was agreed that we write to national KONP to give our thanks, and it is now up to us to circulate this information widely to all contacts and friends.
Further information and links are also available on our own Keep Our NHS Public North East website page “Covid 19 and NHS Privatisation” here This page also contains links to the Inquiry sessions, which remain available to watch.