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‘Ludicrous’, ‘bonkers’, and ‘ baroque eccentricities’: Conservatives at Westminster aim fire at Wales’ Covid restrictions

06 Jan 2022 4 minute read
Andrea Leadsom, left, and Mark Drakeford, left, picture by the Welsh Government.

Conservatives at Westminster, including the Prime Minister, aimed sustained fire at Wales’ Covid restrictions in their first day back from the Christmas break.

Despite health being a devolved matter, a number of senior English and Welsh Conservatives at the House of Commons took the opportunity to criticise the restrictions put in place by the First Minister Mark Drakeford, which came in on Boxing Day.

Boris Johnson led the charge, describing the restrictions in Wales as “baroque eccentricities” during Prime Minister’s questions.

The Welsh Secretary Simon Hart also said the Welsh Government was guilty of a “huge number of mystifying and contradictory positions”.

“It seems that it is all right for people to go to a pub but not to their office. They can watch the rugby from the clubhouse but not from the touchline. They can go to a gym but they cannot partake in an outdoor activity such as parkrun.”

The stricter rules introduced in Wales from Boxing Day mean that groups of no more than six people could meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants.

Meanwhile, outdoor events are limited to 50, while 30 people allowed indoors, leading to many sporting events being cancelled or played behind closed doors.

But Simon Hat said that “the confusing examples” of restrictions in Wales “have got even the most loyal people doubting whether he is still making the right decisions”.

“It seems mystifying and bizarre, when we talk about covid regulations needing to be clear and concise in order to command public confidence, that people in Wales can go to the pub but be fined if they go to their office, that they can watch rugby in a crowded club room but not from the touchline, and that they can have a gym session in their own property but not go and do a parkrun, which is known to have enormous health and mental health benefits,” he said.

‘Fear’

MPs from England also weighed in. Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant, who said that he spent Christmas in Wales, said that he “met a number of business people in the evening who said that Mark Drakeford’s plans for covid restrictions were nothing but political posturing and that they were damaging their economy”.

Former Secretary of State for Business Andrea Leadsom also described the restrictions as “bonkers”.

“Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Welsh Government’s decision to prevent people from taking part in parkruns—not just Welsh citizens but those from the English side taking part in Welsh parkruns—has meant that those people have been significantly detrimentally affected by such a bonkers decision?” she asked.

Welsh Conservative MPs also attacked the restrictions, with Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones saying that the “inconsistencies in the rules in Wales are not just ludicrous, but are harming the Welsh economy”.

“We cannot do parkrun and we cannot watch outdoor sport on the touchline—but we can cwtch up together in the clubhouse to watch it,” she said.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb added that Wales “faces the most burdensome and most intrusive restrictions in any part of the United Kingdom” and that “these measures are driven more by fear and pessimism than by good science”.

Mark Drakeford announced on the 30th of December last week that the rules would stay in place for another week, as the situation in Wales had “deteriorated in the last week as the omicron wave has arrived”.

“We have seen a marked rise in cases of coronavirus – the majority are likely to be caused by the omicron variant,” he said.

“This is similar to the position in the rest of the UK.”

A further update is expected today or tomorrow.


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Ed Jones
Ed Jones
7 months ago

Respect. Show Wales some respect Tories and you may not be so despised. Every single Westminster drone mentioned above has both abhorrent voting records and staggering greed where expenses are concerned. As a party, the Tories have reached their peak in Wales, I so look forward to their demise.

Cath Hill
Cath Hill
7 months ago
Reply to  Ed Jones

Indeed! Tories out FOREVER! Our Scottish cousins know how to deal with that mafia party: Cast them out. If you give the Tory an inch it will steal a mile. Dirty, greedy, vermin rat people that will cast the poor into the cold, the terrorised into the sea and treat the nations of this beautiful Earth as nought but fodder for their wealth have no place in the Cymru that I work to see re-born free of the hostility, bigotry, hate and destruction of the British Establishment that the Conservative parties in the UK represent and uphold. The astonishing disrespect… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

Wow! Yes Cymru!!

Stephen Vaughan
Stephen Vaughan
7 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

What about the non – Welsh speakers? I didn’t see language in your list.

sglyfath budur
sglyfath budur
7 months ago

and people wonder why the Tories aren’t in power in Wales, and long may it stay that way.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Some say the best form of defence is attack, and after the UK Gov accepted 4 million LFT from Wales, in total 10 million now, due to Westminster incompetence and lack of a plan, they must now deflect attention, and the perfect target, as in the past with David Cameron, the government and health sector in Wales. Hot air and bluster, which will be supported by the Tory friendly press.

j humphrys
j humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

And their bluster in seeming direct proportion to their dreadful Covid figures!

Cath Hill
Cath Hill
7 months ago

Citizens! Voters in Cymru, this is what the Tory thinks of you, of us, they think us fools and cast vile insults at our Senedd… Yet look at how they live: Parties whilst making laws to say others cannot, huge and obscene expense accounts, throwing contracts to their friends and many other acts too numerous to mention, to many lies, frauds, double deals and crimes to take up your time with right now and here. Reject these people, reject their greedy and shameful and wicked ways. They are oppressors and killers of children’s hopes, reject and cast them away. Let… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

Well yes Hart is undoubtedly mystified. He knows nothing of Wales and very little about anything beyond Johnson’s backside.

Llyn
Llyn
7 months ago

WG would be wise to ditch the regulations relating to outdoor activities. Eluned Morgan in an interview yesterday with the BBC indicated that fans would not be able to attend sporting events til March. If this happens, after the booster rollout and fans can attend matches in Eng and Scot I cannot see anyway that they can keep the public on side.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

The inconsistency over outdoor events is the major flaw in the policy. I can see how overcrowding indoors can cause all sorts of transmission issues, but outdoors….?

Llyn
Llyn
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Completely agree. We have always been told by WG ministers that outdoors is much safer and everyone who wants to is now boosted. It just undermines the message and people’s trust.

R W
R W
7 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

I totally agree with you on this point. This policy by the WG makes no sense whatsoever.

j humphrys
j humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Well, if you go to matches in France or Italy, don’t forget to wear your mask
outdoors or you’ll get your collar felt!

Covid
Covid
7 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Masks outdoors are a sensible precaution. If my nose can detect someone smoking or vaping at more than 6 metres away, what does that say about my ability to inhale Covid from 2 meters?

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

not a problem. As Gofid says below if you can smell a smoker at so many metres then play safe and mask up. Personally I wouldn’t even go to Cardiff for a major rugby event because of all the cretins running around the city before and after the match, plus having to put up with their ignorant behaviours during a match. Nothing to do with Covid, I’m just allergic to nitwits of any type.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

‘Ludicrous’, ‘bonkers’, and ‘ baroque eccentricities’: Oh that’s really funny. They must have held a giant mirror and described their own idiosyncratic selves. What a bunch of sad deluded morons. Boris is probably top of the pile but there’s plenty more in there that are viable candidates for loony of the day/week/month/year.

arthur owen
7 months ago

Johnson has become a one trick pony regarding the booster,Mark Drakeford is doing the same as regards restrictions. I think Covid is affecting the performance of both of them.

Hubris
Hubris
7 months ago

They’re rattled. Everything is perfectly fine and it’s only commonplace for the privileged and entitled English classes to play up largely because they’ve been sidelined and put into the shade. Remember the tantrums they had when their national football team was ranked below Wales or their hatred of Warren Gatland? They don’t like success or common sense and the fact that they’ve largely abandoned their own population and have 24 hospitals on the critical incident list should tell you everything you need to know. Time and again throughout the pandemic they’ve constantly tried to undermine what we do in Wales… Read more »

Hubris
Hubris
7 months ago

A respected college lecturer who also has a wealth of experience and number of academic publications to his name. The same draconian measures that you mention are in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland and most of Europe leaving England the odd one out. Maybe you want to read about a bit more rather than reading the Daily Mail and watching Sky News.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
7 months ago

And so what if he was a college lecturer. Better that than a lying, cheating, self-serving, philandering so-called ‘journalist’.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

More Tory Trumpian attacks. Nothing new. It done because Welsh Labour is in power, not forgetting they fear the SNP, so abuse us. David Cameron’s government did similar in 2010 when he attacked the Welsh NHS.

The English Conservatives are fascists who attack not only Senedd competency, but the people of Wales right to do things differently. Not just for the sake of it, but because it’s right for Wales not England.

Jenny Howell
Jenny Howell
7 months ago

I really like Mark Drakeford and was delighted when he became FM, but these Covid restrictions are a step (or more) too far – like the Covid Passes before them. Cases sound terrifying in isolation but they are not turning into hospitalisations and deaths. And until we have access to early treatment options then I will take some convincing that any of this is about saving lives anyway. The virus is now endemic. The Tories (for once) are right!

j humphrys
j humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  Jenny Howell

England is not the world and the Tory management, or lack of it, is just terrible.
Look at Finland and Norway, both demand Covid Passes and restrictions are
based on density and regional case figures.

Last edited 7 months ago by j humphrys
Grayham Jones
7 months ago

Kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Grayham Jones
7 months ago

Stop incomers voting in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Davo
Davo
7 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Hiliol/racist Woud that be the same English people who patch you up when you go to a&e and perform operations on you?

Erisian
Erisian
7 months ago

Perhaps someone should explain to them what devolution means.
They are just upset because our actions suggest that theirs might be wrong.

Last edited 7 months ago by Erisian
Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
7 months ago

Not one of the mentioned Tory MPs has ever done anything to warrant respect. I think the adjectives they have shamefully used are more suitable in respect of them.

John Howard Edwards
John Howard Edwards
7 months ago

Anybody, in theory, has a right to an opinion in a supposedly democratic system, I guess, (and I question whether we do indeed have a truly democratic system when we can’t elect a head of state), but on the other hand, those Tories in Westminster need to keep their capitalist noses out of our affairs. They are only interested in lining their own pockets at the expense of others, and they have no interest in our language and culture. This is exemplified by the insulting comments published over the years by Tory-rabied journalists in The Times and the Daily Torygraph.

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