Key findings included that the depleted state of the National Health Service and other public services before the pandemic was a determining factor in poor outcomes. Additionally, the government was poorly prepared and responded too slowly, adopting an incorrect strategy leading to a loss of life and growing mistrust in its advice. Furthermore, a consistent failure of government policies to reduce inequalities put the most vulnerable at high risk of illness and death from COVID-19.
the 1945 Charter of the UN Article 1,
and the constitutional provisions of WHO and the World Health Assembly both giving rise to the International Health Regulations.
The 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Articles 12 (1) and (2) affirm that “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest standard of physical and mental health. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant…include those necessary for…(c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases.”
The UK ratified this treaty in 1976.
For behaviour to be categorised in criminal law as misconduct in public office, it must be serious enough to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder and an affront to the standing of the public office held. The People’s Covid Inquiry concluded that ministers do indeed have a case to answer.
I am co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, the organisation that conceived and coordinated the People’s Covid Inquiry.
The People’s Covid Inquiry into the handling of the pandemic by the government in England—misconduct in public office.
People’s Covid Inquiry,
1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1945 Charter of the UN.
International Health Regulations (2005), 3rd edn.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Published: 15 January 2022
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