English government dropping Covid rules to distract from ‘awful mess it finds itself in’, says Drakeford
The government of England is dropping restrictions more quickly than Wales to distract from the “awful mess that it finds itself in”, according to Mark Drakeford.
During an interview with Naga Munchetty on BBC Breakfast, the Welsh First Minister took aim at Boris Johnson’s regime for not “following the science” and for trying to “grab headlines” with its approach to the pandemic.
The comments come amid a turbulent period for the UK Prime Minister, with calls for him to resign, amid reports of boozy parties being held in Downing Street during lockdown, a defection of an MP from the Conservatives to Labour, and allegations that Tory MPs have been “blackmailed” into dropping their opposition to UK Government policies.
The Welsh Government announced a phased easing of restrictions last night, with a gradual rerun to alert level zero by January 28.
This contrasts with a much faster dropping of restrictions in England, where policies such as mandatory face coverings in public places and Covid passports have been scrapped.
Mark Drakeford was asked during the the interview on BBC Breakfast why he had not followed the approach taken in England.
Naga Munchetty said: “I’m sure many people in Wales will be looking to restrictions that have been eased in England and thinking, why are we not there? Why are we not at that stage if we’re hearing, the same, a similar message from the UK Government that looks after the rules in England that numbers are coming down, hospital admissions, the pressure is easing on the NHS?”
Mark Drakeford said: “Well we’ve always taken a different approach in Wales, one that does things step by step, in line with the science.
“We’re a government that doesn’t need to grab headlines to distract attention from the difficulties that we would be in if we were in the same position as the government of England and I think people in Wales have demonstrated their support for that more cautious, more step by step approach because it has kept Wales safe, and it’s kept Wales open.”
Naga Munchetty said: “Are you saying that the UK Government has favoured, has lent towards more favourable headlines to save itself rather than following the science?”
Mark Drakeford replied: “Well absolutely. I don’t think there’s any doubt at all that the UK Government has long abandoned any sense that it is following the science. It is a government desperately mired in difficulties of its own making and is forever on the lookout for a headline that will distract people’s attention from the awful mess that it finds itself in.”
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