The BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent has been criticised after he said that different rules over travel in Wales and England were “ridiculous” and that “no one was going to police” them.
Daniel Sandford said it was a “ridiculous situation where somebody who lives in England on the Welsh border can drive all the way along to the coast of East Anglia to get to the coast but can’t cross five miles across the border to get to Wales under these separate rules”.
“But to be honest no one is going to police that that is just what they’re asking people to do because of the different rules in different countries in different nations,” he said.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said that it was “dangerous fake news” and that the BBC should “urgently retract” the comments.
Health policy is devolved to Wales and currently, someone travelling within or into Wales by car for exercise could be stopped and fined by police.
Rob Osborne of ITV News said the comments had “gone down badly” at the Welsh Government and that they had already contacted BBC News to clarify the rules.
Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething later took issue with the coverage, writing that the coverage was “really disappointing from Daniel Sandford and BBC News, and simply not true”.
“The Welsh Government rules in Wales will be policed. We are not flexing political muscle – we are acting to keep people safe. Not very complicated.”
The BBC’s Press Team later responded: “Hi Vaughan – our correspondent was incorrect to say, during an earlier live report, that incoming travel into Wales was not being policed. He has clarified the situation in his subsequent reporting.”
Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that rules would be relaxed in England, meaning people can “drive to other destinations”.
However, in Wales, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said people cannot travel “a significant distance” from home.
“I want to be clear – in Wales, it is Welsh law which applies,” he told the daily Welsh Government press conference. He added that he thought his government had got it right while the UK Government had got it wrong.
But in his televised comments, broadcast at 2.15 pm on the main BBC News channel, Daniel Sandford said that the issue “goes to the heart of the problem that the Westminster Government is having” as they attempt to “make sure that the other nations march alongside them a bit”.
“Of course, to a degree, there’s some politics going on – the other nations are flexing their muscles a bit, saying we’re not going to take regulation from Westminster,” he said.
“Some different concerns – infection rate is a little bit higher in Wales and Scotland at the moment – so that’s making people a little bit uncomfortable.”