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LEADING lawyers and NHS campaigners reported Tory ministers to the police today over their mishandling of the pandemic.
Human rights barrister Michael Mansfield QC and lawyer Lorna Hackett, along with campaigners from campaign group Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), posted a letter to Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick for “due consideration in relation to the commission of serious offences in the handling of the pandemic by the government.”
The group had originally planned to deliver the letter in person, but decided to take precautions due to the ongoing rise in Covid-19 cases.
The complaint follows the conclusion of the People’s Covid Inquiry, conducted by KONP and chaired by Mr Mansfield.
The inquiry’s final report found a number of major failings by the government, including that of “misconduct in public office” by several key ministers.
Campaigners aim to hold those responsible to account for their actions and to affect positive change in the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and any future pandemic.
Mr Mansfield said the inquiry panel was clear that the evidence it had heard “gave reason to be concerned that criminal offences of some gravity” had been committed.
“These events are serious and involve the unnecessary deaths of many thousands of UK citizens,” he added.
“There are two obvious criminal matters. One is a statutory offence of corporate manslaughter, where gross negligence has been manifested on a systemic level.
“And the other is misconduct in public office, a common-law offence to which the commissioner’s attention is particularly drawn and the essence of which is ‘a public officer who wilfully neglects to perform his duty to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder’.”
KONP co-chairman Dr Tony O’Sullivan said the Met Police had a duty to investigate ministers over “their reckless misconduct in public office that has caused such death, suffering and damage.”
“Political leaders of this country, with deliberate care and attention to detail, have left the NHS, social care and public health so weakened as to place millions of the population at risk,” he said.
“Since March 2020, they have used the pandemic to divert unimaginable wealth to private contracts rather than to build the health and care front-line support services needed to defend the population.
“Experts told us that up to 30,000 deaths were avoidable in the first wave, probably over 50,000 on subsequent waves.
“Front-line health and care staff are literally on their knees, 1,500 have died. The NHS now faces an unchecked omicron pandemic, still without support, adequate staffing, or effective PPE [personal protective equipment].”
The Met Police have been approached for comment.
A further 90,629 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases had been recorded in the UK as of 9am this morning, the government announced.
It also said that a further 172 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.
Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that there had been 173,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
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