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Mark Drakeford says that the UK Government have ‘not done what the science told them to do’ on Covid restrictions

09 Jan 2022 4 minutes Read
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Annika Haas (CC BY 2.0). Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Mark Drakeford has said that UK Government ministers have “not done what the science would have told them they should do” on Covid-19 restrictions.

The First Minister said that he had brought in new restrictions in Wales from Boxing Day because that was the scientific advice he had received from experts.

He had been asked by Sky News‘ Trevor Phillips whether it was “a bit unfair to criticise the government of England” on the relative lack of restrictions there.

Mark Drakeford answered: “My point is this – I’m asked time after time, why isn’t Wales doing the same thing as in England? And my answer was to point out that in this debate, it is not Wales that is the outlier.

“Wales is following the same path of putting protections in place that is being followed by Scotland, Northern Ireland, and not just devolved governments in the United Kingdom but governments across Europe and across the world.

“The question as to why the UK Government has decided not to follow that course of action are for them to answer – not for me. I think they have not done what the science would have told them they should do.

“But those are decisions they are answerable for. I’m answerable for decisions here in Wales.”

Scientific advice from earlier in the month published on 30 December showed that scientists had recommended a four-week lockdown in Wales after Christmas.

‘Action’

Mark Drakeford’s comments are the second time this week he has said that England is the “outlier” in tackling Covid-19.

He was also asked at Friday’s press conference why Wales was continuing with restrictions while Prime Minister Boris Johnson in England had decided not to introduce them.

The First Minister has confirmed that current restrictions will stay in place in Wales for at least another week, despite the Omicron variant not being “as severe as feared”.

Asked why he wasn’t falling into line with England, he said: “I would put the question in the opposite way. The outlier here is not Wales.

“Wales is taking action as are countries might across Europe, and the globe. The one country that stands out is England. The question is not why is Wales not following England, but why is England such a global outlier in governments protecting their populations.

“Here in Wales, we have a government that is capable to act and determined to do so when necessary, in England we have a government that is politically polarised. The Prime Minister can’t take the action his advisors have told him to take.

“Even if he could get his Cabinet to agree with them, he couldn’t get them past his MPs.”

He said that it was “easy to see” that other parts of the world were going “far beyond” the measures Wales was taking.

“The Prime Minister has decided to ‘ride it out’ as he has said, as he doesn’t have any other political options,” he added. “The advice shows consistently that an enormous wave of Omicron is coming your way, and here are the actions that could be taken.

“In the end, it is politicians that must decide on the advice that they are given. But there is no doubt that the advice the UK Government has had is one that asked them to take action rather than sit back and just allow things to happen.”

Mark Drakeford also suggested that he could not take restrictions any further because he needed financial support from the UK Treasury.

“Despite repeated efforts to get the UK Government to act in that responsible way – by ourselves and Scotland and Northern Ireland – we have not had the answer we thought we were entitled to expect,” he said.


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Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
5 months ago

I’m wondering how many lives were saved by Mark and also how many have been lost by Boris

Gwyn Williams
Gwyn Williams
5 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

The more I read comments here by Brian Coman the more I believe that Brian Coman is a “troll”.

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago
Reply to  Gwyn Williams

Gwyn You will find that the transfer of patients from NHS to care homes did happen with what looks like little or no risk assessment. Now Drakeford himself may not have taken that decision but given the numbers someone high up in his hierarchy did. Where does the buck stop ?

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

Sadly for many people in England the Tory party is not there for them. To be blunt, it would rather see them suffer than hurt the (it’s) money train. Many of the backbenchers have vested interests in there being no restrictions. Greed is coming before lives in England.

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Spare a thought for us exiles who have to live under the Johnsonian regime. Yes, we’re fully vaccinated and boostered over here but it doesn’t stop us having some degree of envy tinged with hiraeth for what is happening back home.

Yes, Cymru is not utopia nor Mark Drakeford perfect. But give me ‘baroque eccentricities’ any day if it saves lives as opposed to lack of leadership, cupidity, vacillation and sheer culpable negligence leading to ‘bodies being piled high’ any day of the week.

Adopted Cardi
Adopted Cardi
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

and happily for the Government in England Steve it was the same English people who voted for them! – when there was a once in a lifetime chance of a decent leader, who didn’t follow the Money god and believe that Greed was Good.

Dafydd
Dafydd
5 months ago

Boris = Zero Integrity

Erisian
Erisian
5 months ago

Boris is a puppet, incapable of leadership. Instead he is lead by a alphabet soup of inner cliques and so-called think-tanks who lead him astray.
First it was the ERG, now it’s the CRG and CSG.
He has revealled himself as a weak and self-serving clown scared of, and controlled by a handfull of rabid ideologs.

George
George
5 months ago

There’s likely to be a high degree of outcome bias from end of the month onwards but Drakeford is right to remind people that Boris ignored SAGE in order to appease Tory backbenchers who were happy to gamble people’s lives and status of the NHS. It’s right that one message would have been simpler but how does that message get constructed? Was Wales meant to change their response dramatically to fall in line with those taking such a gamble and how much movement in position was likely to come back the other way? From what we’ve seen, this Tory party… Read more »

Dewi Williams
Dewi Williams
5 months ago

Predictably, the pattern is already emerging. The powerful right wing Tory press (which dominates the UK media) will be using their immense resources in the coming weeks to discredit the 1st Minister and the Welsh Government. This is already in start- up mode. The right wing press such as the Mail are already referring to Mark’s responses to this form of questioning in exaggerated and hostile terms. They describe what he says as a rant and tirade. Of course, on close examination nothing is further from the truth. However, it works well on the minds of a gullible electorate and… Read more »

Gareth Cemlyn Jones
Gareth Cemlyn Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Dewi Williams

Whilst never a fan of DeValera I believe his work on establishing a free Irish Press independant from imperial influence was a major step forward in developing the Republic and removing some of the influences which we are only too familiar with here in Wales

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

Re. decisions made here Mark, there is a piece from Ms Saville Roberts on the opinion page of the Guardian online today worthy of our and your attention…

Last edited 5 months ago by Mab Meirion
Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
5 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  Welsh_Siôn

That was very kind of kind of you WS…I used to enjoy it when Mr Llwyd would rise and give voice in the ‘house’…

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
5 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Dim probs, MM. My trick is: 1 Place your cursor in the web page address (URL) at the top of your page in the white space therein. (This page is: https://nation.cymru/news/ mark-drakeford-says-that-the-uk-government-have-not-done-what-the-science-told-them-to-do-on-covid-restrictions/ i.e. Mark Drakeford says that the UK Government have ‘not done what the science told them to do’ on Covid restrictions (nation.cymru)) 2 Press on Ctrl and C at the same time 3 Place your cursor back in the box where you’re typing 4 Press on Ctrl and V at the same time Et voila – This should Copy (C) and Paste (V) your chosen URL/web page into… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Welsh_Siôn
John Davies
John Davies
5 months ago

Drakeford is prepared to disagree sharply with Johnson. Starmer not-so-very-much. Glad I live in Wales.

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
5 months ago

Drakeford is so good at delivering professional yet devastating digs, love it

John Brooks
John Brooks
5 months ago

Despite the fact that
Johnson is not fit to lead a dog let alone a country the current rate of positive tests per 100,000 is significantly higher in Wales and Scotland than in England. I fear the devolved governments are using the mistrust people have in Johnson and the Tories to hide the reality of the actual figures .

JAD
JAD
5 months ago
Reply to  John Brooks

Can you provide a link to that figure please? From what I’ve read on the ONS website England has 1 in 15 people infected, Wales and Scotland have 1 in 20, and Northern Ireland 1 in 25. Also, if England are still behind with testing then surely that affects the figures along with the fact that England do not seem to count re-infections but Wales, Scotland and NI do.

Rob
Rob
5 months ago

I think Drakeford has handled the pandemic far better than Boris Johnson, but those who are fully vaccinated should not be subject to anymore restrictions. We have to move on from this.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
5 months ago

I think Drakeford is terrific. Most popular man in Wales

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