Drakeford dig at Tory MS who failed to vote on Covid passes: ‘He chose to be at Tory conference’
Mark Drakeford has said that a Tory MS who missed a crucial vote on Covid passes chose to be elsewhere rather than “discharging his responsibilities to be in the Senedd”.
Gareth Davies’ vote would have stopped the Covid passes from coming into force tomorrow. He claimed that a technical mishap had stopped him from voting.
Tom Swarbrick on LBC today asked Mark Drakeford it if was fair that the vote had stood. “Is that democratic? How can that vote be allowed to stand if one person wasn’t able to vote?” he asked.
But Mark Drakeford said that the vote was entirely legitimate.
“Well, 59 of 60 members of the Senedd managed to be there to cast their vote,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that the problem was necessarily one of Zoom. The member concerned had chosen to be at the Conservative Party Conference, rather than discharging his responsibilities to be in the Senedd.
“Everybody else managed to get it. I’m afraid that’s just how democracy is. Somebody could have been stopped because they were in a car accident or something.
“If they fail to get to the Senedd their vote can’t be cast. It’s just how it is. The vote was taken. The vote is the vote. The pass comes in on Monday.”
Gareth Davies is yet to explain the exact nature of the technical problems that prevented him from voting. The official conference guide shows that he was due to speak at a Young Conservatives event at 4pm that afternoon, two hours before the vote.
But in a statement, he said he was “angry” he had been unable to access the Senedd’s remote voting system.
“I’m deeply upset, frustrated and angry at last night’s events and my inability to cast a vote against vaccine passports,” he said.
“Yesterday evening, IT challenges meant that I was unable to access the voting system.
“Throughout the voting period, I was speaking with the chief whip and Welsh Conservative staff members in an attempt to solve the IT issues.
“The Senate currently operates under a hybrid system that means only half of our representatives can vote in the chamber, with others voting remotely from elsewhere.
“I was working and representing the group at the Conservative Party conference and I would have been able to vote remotely if I had been able to access the remote voting tools.
“Concerns have been raised with the Senedd’s ICT department.”
In a statement after the vote however Elin Jones said she gave the member “every opportunity” to be present, including giving him her phone number to vote verbally.