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Sadiq Khan tells Covid Inquiry 'lives could have been saved' had he been invited to Cobra meetings earlier
27 November 2023, 11:36 | Updated: 27 November 2023, 12:11
Sadiq Khan has told the Covid Inquiry "lives could have been saved" had he been invited to Cobra meetings earlier in the pandemic.
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Speaking at the Covid Inquiry on Monday morning, the Mayor of London said he was "disappointed" that the Government did not provide him with more information about Covid as it started to spread in the UK at the start of 2020.
Mr Khan said the Greater London Authority (GLA) was "chasing the Government for information", but he had not been doing this in February because he "wasn't aware how serious it was".
"The Government generally does give us information about a variety of things happening. I'm disappointed the Government weren't giving us information in February about what they knew then," Mr Khan said.
He went on: "I can see no explanation at all why we [the mayors of major English cities] weren't around that table.
"I think lives could've been saved if we were [invited] earlier."
According to Mr Khan, it was "unusual" for the Government not to be providing information to the Mayor of London's office in this sort of emergency.
The Mayor of London continued: "I was writing to the Government and contacted the Government to ask for information - that wasn't coming in January, February or March.
"That is unusual by the way. I can give examples of other emergencies where this hasn't happened."
Mr Khan also said that Sir Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer, had warned him that the impact of Covid on London would be "huge".
The only powers he had to stop Covid at the time was to enhance cleaning on the Tube network, as well as cancelling a major St Patrick's Day in March.
It comes after it was revealed that the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, would not be appearing before the Covid Inquiry.
Baroness Heather Hallett formally excused Mr Case from giving evidence in 2023 due to "ill health".
An update on his ability to give evidence will provided at the end of January 2024.
"It very much remains my intention that Mr Case should give oral evidence to the inquiry," she said in her ruling .