Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated her calls for a UK-wide public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic following “shameful” remarks allegedly spoken by Boris Johnson.
The First Minister argued that bereaved families deserve answers about the response to the pandemic in light of reports the Prime Minister said he would rather see “bodies pile high” than impose a third lockdown.
Johnson has denied making the comments, although the claims have been corroborated to both the BBC and ITV.
But the SNP leader has now said grieving families will be “shocked, but not surprised” by Johnson’s alleged remarks.
Issuing a call for a public inquiry, Sturgeon said: “Given the reported comments from the Prime Minister, it is more important than ever that families have answers, and it is shameful that the UK Government denied their request on the same day that they will have seen and heard these abhorrent remarks.
“These apparent comments relate to human life, to people’s family and friends, and that should never be forgotten.
“Most people will be shocked but not surprised by what the Prime Minister is reported to have said, but for the families who have lost loved ones, reading these comments will be deeply distressing.
“I expect the Scottish Government to be scrutinised on our actions and am committed to establishing a public inquiry this year – the UK Government must commit to the same.”
Sturgeon, who met with the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group last month, has pledged to order a Scotland-specific public inquiry by the end of the year if the UK Government refuses to hold one on a four-nation basis.
She added: “It was an honour to meet with the families for justice group, and I committed to them that if there is no agreement across the four nations, an inquiry will be established in Scotland by the end of this year.
“If re-elected, we will begin the work to establish that inquiry immediately, including consulting with families and others on the nature of the inquiry and its remit.”
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