Starmer blasts Johnson over no-show at COBRA meeting with Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon
Labour leader Keir Starmer has criticised Boris Johnson for not turning up at a meeting with the leaders of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It was revealed yesterday that the emergency meeting would be chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay rather than Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister did however speak to the First Minister Mark Drakeford on Friday on the ongoing threat of Covid 19.
“It is a complete abdication of responsibility for both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to miss another vital Cobra meeting yesterday,” Keir Starmer said.
“They are too busy looking over their shoulders at the Conservative party to provide the leadership our country needs.”
His comments come after Nicola Sturgeon also took aim at the Prime Minister over his COBRA no-show.
“The First Minister was utterly incredulous to discover neither the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor were on today’s COBR call,” a spokesperson said.
“That is three Cobra calls in succession that they have not attended.
“The meeting itself focussed on the mounting figures for the Omicron variant and on the impact the variant will have on staffing across both the public and private sectors.
“The First Minister made clear that she believed that these serious impacts should not be accepted as inevitable and that we should all focus on action to avoid that happening in the first place.”
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford is yet to comment publicly on the COBRA meeting but has previously been critical of the lack of engagement by the Prime Minister.
Mark Drakeford is expected to reveal what new restrictions will be brought in for Wales after Christmas later today.
Yesterday he said that some extra restrictions on hospitality were “inevitable” after Christmas.
“We will be working this week on the rules about how hospitality will reopen after Christmas,” he said.
“I think it’s inevitable that when hospitality reopens we will need to build some extra defences into the way they operate otherwise people won’t turn up there. That’s the thing to remember – the reason we’re doing this is for business reasons as well as health reasons.
“It’s normally as it has been for other settings looking back to the sorts of measures we had earlier in the pandemic. So people will remember, not so long ago, that if you went to a restaurant your details were collected so they could be used for track and trace. That you ordered from where you say, that you wore a mask when you moved around, not when you’re eating and drinking. If you were moving around the restaurant, you wore a mask when you were moving around.”