Covid inquiry half-time report: the winners and losers so far

A back-pedalling Matt Hancock came unstuck (again), the ‘two gentlemen of corona’, Vallance and Whitty, were candid, clear and balanced – but overall the hearings will play badly for the Conservative Party, says Sean O’Grady, as he looks ahead to next week’s appearance by Boris Johnson

Thursday 30 November 2023 19:58 GMT

The Covid inquiry is supposed to be about delineating what happened during the pandemic, learning lessons, and making findings that can be treated as recommendations. It is independent, and run by senior judge Baroness Hallett, who has been visibly fair in her role. Being statutory, established under the Inquiries Act 2005, and with the chair able to run it as she deems fit, it has no political agenda. It is an investigatory tribunal, and nobody is on trial.

Even so, the reputations of many politicians and civil servants are being tested. The final report, which will focus on institutional and “structural” factors, may still criticise or censure key players. There is a human factor.

Thus far, there have been some notable winners and losers. Matt Hancock, who was health secretary for most of the pandemic, is a case in point. And on Wednesday and Thursday next week, Boris Johnson will offer his testimony…

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in