Andrew RT Davies accuses Welsh Gov of ‘gloating’ about loaning England Covid tests
Andrew RT Davies has accused the Welsh Government of “gloating” about loaning Covid tests to England.
The Leader of the Tories in the Senedd claimed “Welsh Labour politicians behaved like petulant playground children” after England was bailed out with the loan of four million Lateral Flow Tests, amid an acute shortage in the country.
The Conservative politician took exception to Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Government’s former Health Minister, for saying “you’re welcome” to England’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Twitter. According RT Davies it was “without a hint of irony.”
He also accused the Welsh Government of playing “politics with the pandemic” and of trying to “turn every little issue into a Wales v England match in an effort to dog-whistle for nationalists in Wales”.
The loan of Lateral Flow Tests to England came after UK pharmacies and scientists warned that the shortage was becoming a “huge” problem, as they were being requested every five minutes to deal with the Omicron surge in cases.
In an article for ConservativeHome, Andrew RT Davies wrote: “While the British Government has been purchasing vaccines to save lives and returning people’s freedoms, in Wales the Labour administration has been playing politics with the pandemic and trying to rip our Union apart.
“We saw a great example of this last month when Welsh Labour politicians behaved like petulant playground children, gloating about the fact they loaned some COVID tests to the UK Government.
“Tests have been shared among the nations through the pandemic, and in my view that demonstrates the strength of the Union – but not in the eyes of Mark Drakeford.
He added: “If the Welsh Government had their way we would still be in the EU and our vaccine rollout would not be anywhere near where it is today.
“Constantly, Drakeford and others in the Labour administration in Cardiff Bay have played identity politics with the pandemic, trying constantly to turn every little issue into a Wales v England match in an effort to dog-whistle for nationalists in Wales.”
In a statement on the loan of Covid tests to England, Mark Drakeford said that “demand for PCR tests and for lateral flow devices continues to rise and has reached new record levels”.
“Wales has a significant stock of lateral flow tests, sufficient to meet our needs over the weeks ahead,” he said.
“The Health Minister has agreed today to loan a further four million such tests to the English NHS, bringing that mutual aid to 10 million lateral flow tests.
“Distribution of lateral flow test kits through home delivery and pharmacies remains the responsibility of the UK Government and we are working with it, as it increases the capacity of the system.”