Labour have called for students to be able to return home over Christmas, raising hopes for those at Welsh universities where power over education and health is in the hands of the Labour Welsh Government.
Welsh Labour MP Jo Stevens backed an earlier call by the party’s shadow education secretary Kate Green, who called for a government promise that students will be allowed to return home for Christmas.
“We have to put health and public safety first obviously, but we have said, Labour has said, that students should be allowed home over Christmas,” Jo Stevens, the MP for Cardiff Central, told Sky News.
“To enable them to do that we need an effective test, trace and isolate system in place.”
Kate Green had earlier said that it would be “unthinkable” that they could be locked in their halls and unable to see families, although she said “public health considerations” should always come first.
Earlier this week Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford had said that they were “contemplating” asking students to stay at their university accommodation to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“We’ll certainly contemplate it is because it is true that as people move and travel across the United Kingdom then that increases the risk of the virus moving with them,” he said.
“We review our regulations every three weeks so we will have a number of opportunities between now and December to decide whether or not that is necessary advice.”
Earlier this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out a ban on students returning home at Christmas, but added: “I don’t want to have a situation like that and I very much hope we can avoid it.”