Senedd roundup: English MP calls for Welsh Parliament to be abolished – so he can go to the beach
An English Conservative MP has called for the Welsh Parliament to be abolished, so that he can go to the beach.
Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury, said that the different coronavirus restrictions in Wales, which bar people from travelling away from their local area, meant that English people couldn’t visit their closest beach.
However, the closest beach to Shrewsbury, both by distance and travel duration, is in the Wirral rather than in Wales.
“The current gap emerging over this crisis results in the Prime Minister saying to my constituents you can now go for a walk on the beach, but you are prohibited from going across the frontier to get to our nearest coast,” Daniel Kawczynski said.
“I am sorry, but the time has come to reach out as Conservatives to large numbers of like- minded citizens in Wales who like us believe in one system for both nations.
“We must work towards another referendum to scrap the Welsh Assembly and return to one political system for both nations – a political union between England and Wales.”
A further five people with coronavirus have died in Wales bringing the overall total of people known to have died 1,116.
Public Health Wales has confirmed 124 new cases, meaning there are now 11,468 known cases of Covid-19 in Wales. 1,314 tests were carried out over the last 24 hours.
Face masks in Wales ‘will not be mandatory’
First minister Mark Drakeford has ruled out making the wearing of non-medical face masks in public mandatory in Wales.
Mr Drakeford said advice from the chief medical officer in Wales was that there was only a “marginal public health case” for the measure.
He said: “It doesn’t protect you, the wearer, from anybody else, but it may protect other people from the risk of you infecting them.”
Accepting there was a case for the public to wear masks if it made them feel more confident and it was a non-medical face covering and they “were not competing” with people who needed them in a medical setting, he also stressed that if people were showing symptoms of Covid-19 they should not be out in public wearing a face covering, but should be self-isolating at home.
On Monday afternoon the UK Government revealed that in England People should wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet.
The move announced in a newly published 60-page document called Our Plan to Rebuild is aimed at preventing people who have the virus but are not experiencing symptoms from passing it on to others.
The chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, stressed that face coverings were “not a substitute” for physical distancing and urged the public not to buy surgical or medical masks, needed for frontline carers, but to rely on scarves or DIY-type masks instead.
Call for government to “ramp up” communications to address lockdown messaging confusion
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth has called on the Welsh Government to “ramp up” its communications output to ensure that there is “no confusion” between lockdown measures operational in Wales and those announced for England.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all announced they would be sticking to the ‘Stay At Home’ messaging for another three weeks with three minor adjustments on the easing of restrictions.
However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on Sunday outlined different guidance and messaging for England which included easing of travel and leisure restrictions and permitting people to travel any distance to exercise.
Mr ap Iorwerth expressed concern a media deficit in Wales and confused messaging on where those rules apply could threaten public health.
He said: “In order to address the confusion and clarify the difference between Welsh and English lockdown measures, the Welsh Government must urgently ramp up their communications. This could include increasing advertising in both local, national and London based print press and massively boosting their social media advertising.”
“Our progress in lowering community transmissions should not be allowed to be undermined by confusing messaging from the Westminster Government and a lack of communication from the Welsh Government.”
Boris Johnson’s coronavirus speech on BBC One Wales
Calls for First Minister to outline government’s lockdown exit plan.
Paul Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Opposition in the Senedd, has called for First Minister Mark Drakeford to outline his plan for the future of Wales to deal with Covid-19 following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposed changes to the lockdown restrictions in England.
Mr Davies said Johnson’s broadcast on Sunday night “gave the people of the UK hope by giving details of the UK Government’s plan to defeat Covid-19 but to also say how together we can get the economy firing again”.
In a challenge to the First Minister he claimed: “The big difference between England and Wales after last night is that the Prime Minister has set out his clear plan for recovery, which is based on science and is conditional on the R number reducing further. Sadly, so far, the First Minister hasn’t laid out his plan for Wales and yet this is something that Sir Kier Starmer has been demanding in Westminster.
“We also need clarity from the First Minister on the reopening of schools in Wales. Whilst in England it will be based on the progress of reducing the R number, in Wales the Welsh Government has ruled out the re-opening of schools in June altogether. All Governments need to be flexible and listen to the science.
“Fundamentally, the key message hasn’t changed. We all need to stay at home as much as possible and work from home if you can. But after seven weeks of restrictions the people of Wales need hope and aspiration about how and when the lockdown could end, and we need the Welsh Government to deliver this now.”
Mr Drakeford issued a video response to the broadcast from the Boris Johnson and stressed the changes the Prime Minister was making applied only to England. He said: “Our advice has not changed in Wales.
“Wherever you can – you should stay at home.
“If you need to leave home for work, exercise or shopping, you should stay local and stay alert.”
“If you go out, stay local and stay safe.”
Mr Drakeford added: “The health of the public is paramount. It will inform our decisions and we will continue to inform you as we plan for our future in the weeks ahead.”
English drivers warned they could face fines if they drive into Wales
Counsel General Jeremy Miles warned has warned people from England they could face fines if they drive across the border into Wales and breach the Welsh Governments coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
On Sunday evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he was relaxing exercise rules in England to allow people to “drive to other destinations” for a walk.
Mr Jeremy Miles warned: “Our regulations do not permit people to get in their car and drive to destinations in Wales.
“And that also means people getting in their cars in England.”
Mr Miles stressed that police in Wales have powers to fine people for making non-essential journeys and not exercising near their homes.
First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed on Friday that from today exercise rules will be relaxed in Wales but although you can now go outside more than once a day people must “stay local”.