SCOTLAND’S Covid Inquiry is set to face delays after the chair Lord Brailsford was diagnosed with a kidney tumour.

Although he is continuing to work and is expected to make a full recovery after surgery, evidence to the inquiry cannot be heard in his absence.

Under the Inquiries Act 2005, public hearings cannot be heard without the chair present either in person or remotely.

A statement from the inquiry said: “This means the timing of the inquiry’s next tranche of health and social care impact hearings will depend on when the surgery takes place and Lord Brailsford’s recovery period.

“Core participants have been informed and the inquiry will provide a scheduling update for these hearings as soon as it can.

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“The inquiry’s other work will continue as planned.”

The inquiry will continue its investigations outside of the public hearings and will shortly publish academic research and embark on the “focused engagement period” of its listening project, Let’s Be Heard – where people can share their experiences with the inquiry.

The statement continued: “Lord Brailsford will be reviewing applications for core participant status[…] and the inquiry’s legal team will continue to gather and analyse evidence.

“The inquiry regrets any inconvenience the postponement of hearings may cause to witnesses, core participants and other interested parties, but trusts they understand and will join us in extending our best wishes to Lord Brailsford for a full and speedy recovery.”

The inquiry began hearing evidence in October from individuals and groups adversely impacted by Scotland’s pandemic response.