Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under fire after making a “pointless” trip to south Wales today.
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, says the Prime Minister’s decision to travel 140 miles from London to Cwmbran, to speak about Covid measures relating to England only was “deliberately creating confusion.”
Dr Dave Jones, the clinical director for intensive care at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, asked on Twitter: “Why is he even in Wales?” adding, “Wales is in Tier 4, he (and his whole entourage) have visited from an area where variants are rife, and health is devolved from Westminster.”
Speaking in a vaccination centre in Cwmbran, Mr Johnson said the easing of England’s lockdown will be done in “stages” and hinted that hospitality will be one of the last things to reopen.
England’s plan to exit lockdown will be announced next Monday, while the next Welsh Government review takes place this Friday.
The leader of the Plaid group at Westminster also accused Mr Johnson of being “lukewarm” in defence of devolution.
During today’s visit, the Prime Minister was also asked about previous comments suggesting devolution was a “disaster” – to which he responded that it had not been an “overall” disaster.
“This was a pointless 140-mile cross-border journey to Wales to make public comment on matters relating to England only. He must urgently explain why he saw it appropriate to set about deliberately creating confusion about lockdown measures at a crucial stage in the pandemic,” Ms Saville Roberts said.
“Mr Johnson’s lukewarm defence of devolution is undermined by his actions. This is a Prime Minister who has overseen the biggest Westminster power grab since the advent of devolution and has consistently refused to support Welsh lockdown measures with the financial support needed to make them work.”
“After a year of consistently overpromising and underdelivering, the people of Wales deserve better than to be misinformed by his blustery publicity machine.”
During today’s visit, Mr Johnson said UK government ministers were having “continuous conversations” with First Minister Mark Drakeford about the measures.
“Just as we work on the vaccination programme together we’re trying to make sure we concert our approach,” he said.
“Overall, if you look at infection rates across the UK they are coming down a bit now that’s very encouraging.”
Mr Johnson added that while there were “some encouraging signs” this could be driven by vaccination it was “still early days.”