900 Individuals and Organisations submit to All-Party Group on Coronavirus

Over 900 organisations and individuals submit evidence to all-party group on coronavirus in just eight days - as Boris johnson tells PMQs he’d be ‘very happy to look’ at rapid inquiry’s recommendations

  • BMA, Age UK, NHS Confederation and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists among 20 professional bodies, workers unions, charities and 900+ individuals to submit written evidence to group in just eight days
  • PM tells APPG Chair Layla Moran MP in final PMQs question before summer recess that he will be "very happy to look" at what the group comes up with
  • Group which also includes MPs Dr Dan Poulter (Conservative), Clive Lewis (Labour), Dr Philippa Whitford (SNP), Liz Saville-Roberts (Plaid Cymru) and Caroline Lucas (Green) sat for second time today
  • Public can now watch group take evidence from professional bodies, public, bereaved families and health experts live online every Wednesday
  • Widespread calls for public inquiry and rapid review taken up so key recommendations can emerge quickly with inquiry to be completed by end of summer

 

The British Medical Associations (BMA), Age UK, NHS Confederation and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are among 20 professional bodies and charities, and over 900 individuals, who have submitted written evidence in just eight days to a cross-party group of MPs conducting a rapid inquiry into the government’s response to coronavirus, which sat for the second time today.

The all-party parliamentary group is being chaired by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran - vice-chairs on the group include Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter, Labour MP Clive Lewis, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts, Green Party Life Peer Jenny Jones, Scottish National Party MP Dr Philippa Whitford, Labour MP Debbie Abrahams and Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson (full list here).  It was inaugurated two weeks ago, and the rapid inquiry was announced on Monday last week.

At today’s PMQs, Liberal Democrat MP and APPG chair Layla Moran said the cross-party rapid inquiry aimed ‘to learn the lessons of COVID before a second wave’, adding that the group had already received over 900 submissions including from bereaved families and professional bodies.

She added: “We will be releasing recommendations over the recess.  I simply ask, will the prime minster take them seriously with the view to acting on them when  he returns in September?” 

Boris Johnson said he would be “very happy to look” at what the group comes up with.

The first round of written evidence was reviewed at the full APPG meeting today/Wed. and MPs agreed that the public will be able to watch the group take evidence live online every Wednesday, from professional bodies, public, bereaved families and health experts.  It is planned that the inquiry will release interim recommendations fortnightly to allow for recommendations to be implemented ahead of winter. A final summary of recommendations be released at the end of summer.

Layla Moran said later: “Our cross-party inquiry into the government’s handling of coronavirus is making rapid progress with evidence received from over 900 individuals and organisations, ranging from bereaved families to leading medical experts.

“This swift review will ensure that lessons are urgently learned ahead of a potential second spike.  The stark warning that a second wave of coronavirus this winter could cause up to 120,000 deaths shows we have no time to waste.”

Information on the APPG and its developing work can be found at: https://www.marchforchange.uk/appg_coronavirus – to submit evidence, organisations or individuals can visit: https://www.marchforchange.uk/secure_submission_form 

Calls for a public inquiry into the UK government handling of coronavirus have been building at pace over the last few months, from science and health professionals, bereaved families, policy experts, frontline NHS staff, MPs and the public. 

Polling this month (July) by YouGov commissioned by campaign group March for Change shows that 57% of Brits say there should an independent public inquiry into how the UK Government has handled coronavirus, with 62% of those saying it should happen before the winter months.  Asked if the government is adequately prepared to handle coronavirus in the upcoming winter months, a majority (56%) say the Government is not adequately prepared – with only around a quarter (26%) thinking that the government is adequately prepared for any spike.

Campaign group March for Change is acting as the APPG secretariat, and with the APPG is seeking input from public, campaign groups and professional bodies alike into what are the lessons learned, what are the upcoming threats and what are the next steps needed.

This situation has resulted in many parties arguing that an important component of, or precursor to, a full inquiry must be a rapid assessment of lessons learned from the first wave and an action plan for the upcoming winter months. 

For this reason, the campaign group March for Change, which had previously organised a letter of health professionals advocating an urgent public inquiry, helped form an APPG to connect between public, civil society bodies, campaigns and parliament in order to get on top of the rising demand and convert it into actionable output.

Last month (June), 27 leading medics and scientists signed a March for Change letter calling on Boris Johnson to order a public inquiry to prepare Britain for a second wave of the coronavirus this winter, warning that many more will die unless the country improves its response.  The 27 experts, of which more than half are professors in virology, public health, epidemiology and other relevant fields, said there was an urgent need to fix shortcomings in Westminster’s coronavirus response, which have contributed to the UK suffering one of the highest death rates in the world.

March for Change also has a petition with over 115,000 signatures demanding a public inquiry into the UK government handling of coronavirus. The petition is hosted on the March for Change website: https://www.marchforchange.uk/coronavirus_inquiry 

Information on the APPG and its developing work can be found at: https://www.marchforchange.uk/appg_coronavirus

#UKCovidInquiry

Notes to editors: 

March for Change is a grassroots campaign founded in 2019.  Having set up the APPG, the March for Change campaign will fill the function of the group's secretariat.  Its petition is hosted on the March for Change website: https://www.marchforchange.uk/coronavirus_inquiry

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,608 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken 30 June - 1 July, 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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