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Tory MPs put boot into ‘authoritarian’ Drakeford and Sturgeon after no new restrictions announced in England

28 Dec 2021 4 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon. Pictures by Senedd TV / Scottish Parliament TV.

Conservative MPs and Senedd Members have gone on the attack against the Welsh and Scottish governments after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday that there would be no new restrictions in England due to the Omicron variant.

Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon have already introduced new rules on hospitality and attendance at sports matches, saying that they were taking pre-emptive action to stop the NHS being overwhelmed in the new year.

In Wales, nightclubs have been closed, table service is required in pubs and restaurants, and a maximum of six people can sit together at hospitality venues. In Scotland, indoor events have been limited to 100 people standing or 200 people seated, and groups meeting inside must be limited to three households.

But the Conservative Party said that the data did not justify taking further measures yet and said that the Labour government in Wales and the SNP in Scotland had over-reacted to the threat.

Backbench MP Andrew Bridgen who has been campaigning against new Covid restrictions said that “Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have let Scotland and Wales down badly and shown their true authoritarian nature.

“It’s time for the Government in Westminster to lead, no more Covid restrictions. It’s official that Omicron is mild,” he said.

Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, said that Labour had hung Mark Drakeford out to dry after saying that Boris Johnson was right not to bring in any new restrictions to tackle Covid.

She pointed to the reaction of Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting who said that people in England would be “relieved” that no new restrictions were being introduced, although he called for the data that formed the basis of the decision to be maned public.

Alicia Kearns said: “Seems Labour suddenly agrees that Government is right not to bring in restrictions (despite having called for weeks now for unspecified restrictions despite no data) then what does that say about Mark Drakeford in Labour-led Wales?” she said.

“Is Labour playing politics in England or Wales?”

Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswitch added that no new restrictions was the “correct decision” and again criticised Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon.

“I really hope we’re approaching the point where we can permanently turn our backs on the kind of illiberal and draconian rules that are now in place in Scotland and Wales,” he said.

“If the Scottish and Welsh Governments want to introduce new restrictions that cause significant economic harm that’s their right. However, they should be prepared to front up to their own electorates and explain how they’re going to pay for it.”

‘Playing politics’

In Wales, Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones said that it was “welcome news” that there would be no new restrictions in England, which sits on the border with her constituency.

“I’ve been inundated with messages from worried businesses in Brecon and Radnorshire, particularly for those who have competitors across the border. We really must see the evidence,” she said.

Wales’ Conservative Senedd Members also called for stricter restrictions in Wales to be dropped following the decision not to go ahead with them in England.

James Evans, the Senedd Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, said that the Welsh Government “has yet to provide any scientific evidence to back up their new restrictions”.

“The people of Wales are seeing through Mark Drakeford and are furious he is playing politics with their lives,” he said.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies added that no new restrictions were “good news for families and businesses in England”.

“Once again, this reinforces the need for Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay to urgently publish the scientific evidence and advice behind its recent decisions,” he said.

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Tabor
Tabor
19 days ago

If they think that the no restrictions are better in England then go there to live.

Phil Nedin
Phil Nedin
19 days ago

Are the Tory’s unaware of the overall picture in Europe and where the UK is currently positioned?

A0717111-D466-48B4-9F21-ED71DD5C0522.jpeg
George
George
19 days ago
Reply to  Phil Nedin

They’d respond that this shows case rates and since vaccines have changed relationship between case rates and hospitalisation rates and/or longer stays in hospital (2+days) for the better that these figures are no longer that important. What we don’t know is whether extremely high case rates might still lead to high hospitalisations and whether inter-generational mixing at Christmas might lead to swell in hospital admissions also. In England they won’t know til it’s too late. We won’t have that issue in Wales but if/when new variant of concern is found we might have even fewer people willing to play ball… Read more »

Richard
Richard
19 days ago

So sad. These rural members of Westminsters Parliament may be best asking their party colleages in London – just who theae mysterious people are filling up more and more beds each day in their capitals….hospitals 🏥 😢……

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
19 days ago

The English government garden partied their way out of doing any restrictions. People in England won’t listen to them anymore and their government are cowards and have always been cowards. While every other European country including ours is doing something about it. All the English can do is let their people contract covid because they don’t have a leg to stand on.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
19 days ago

These english nationalist tories may be crowing too soon. The position of the uk tory govt is that while they will not be introducing restrictions before new year’s eve this could change at any time after that if the number of covid admissions to hospitals in england start to cause concern (and media reports in england suggest england’s admission levels may not be too far away from that). So restrictions of the kind we are presently seeing in wales and scotland may yet be introduced in england in the coming weeks. Events in the forthcoming weeks may well prove the… Read more »

George
George
19 days ago

Isn’t the point that sometimes different decisions need to be made, isn’t that why health can be and is devolved? There are things that Drakeford has done which are overly authoritarian and seem very difficult to explain, groups of 50 outside only and fines for those going into work for example, but other things which appeared necessary (at least on SAGE’s advice to England from 16/12/21 – specialist advice to Wales remains unpublished?) when the plans were announced. Given that advice pre-Christmas in England was delaying action could see restrictions needed for longer and harder restrictions, I don’t think Drakeford’s… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
19 days ago
Reply to  George

Difference in reality; Cymru, like most of Europe, prioritises defending its people.

George
George
19 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

And many would say that through acceleration of vaccines roll-out that England protected people just in a different way. I don’t think we’ll know what was definitely needed until 2nd week of January but England are happy that their guidance (and compliance rates with this) means they can continue on as they are for now at least. I don’t disagree with Drafeford’s approach based on the information we had at the time the extra restrictions were announce, and because history tells us that it’s worse in winter and going harder and earlier than one would like has been the best… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
19 days ago
Reply to  George

Just look at the above map.

George
George
18 days ago
Reply to  j humphrys

But if those cases don’t lead to hospitalisation (or if they don’t lead to extended stays) then does it matter? And if Wales’ rates go as high (because they have previously) then does it matter that Welsh government implemented restrictions? At the moment it’s a bit like a maths exam where Tories clearly didn’t have a clue when asked to show their theory but look like they might get the answer right anyway, and we’re all crossing our fingers that i) that is the case and ii) general public can see through that to where they took a significant risk… Read more »

Richard
Richard
19 days ago
Reply to  George

By the time we find out it may be too late for many of our non vaccinated unfortunately- either ill , hospital bound or worse … a case of better safe than sorry 😢

Kiosk
Kiosk
19 days ago
Reply to  George

As a Welshman living in England, I think Boris is playing very clever. He is not implementing restrictions but a lot of the public are. My local rugby club is closed due to Covid, as is my local pub/restaurant. People are staying away and celebrations etc have been cancelled due to staff illness. The majority seem to be restricting themselves and not taking risks. People and companies have cancelled Christmas NYE parties etc. Boris is being very clever and laughing to himself. The funding he gave to the devolved nations will have to be paid back if England sees no… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
19 days ago

These english nationalist tories may be crowing too soon. The position of the uk tory govt is that while they will not be introducing restrictions before new year’s eve this could change at any time after that if the number of covid admissions to hospitals in england start to cause concern (and media reports in england suggest england’s admission levels may not be too far away from that). So restrictions of the kind we are presently seeing in wales and scotland may yet be introduced in england in the coming weeks. Events in the forthcoming weeks may well prove the… Read more »

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
19 days ago

“No new restriction until after new year” Which is a few days away, so they will be using this time to attack the devolved governments, pretend they themselves are the arbiters of freedom and then in a couple of days time more restrictions. All this will do is make things worse and it really shows they don’t care about what happens to peoples health in their own country. But remember, its Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the planet who are the bad guys.

Last edited 19 days ago by GW Atkinson
Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
19 days ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Interesting to consier just who is ‘out of step’ here. I heard an interview on R4 with the MD of a big hospitality group. He pointed out at once the experts said “don’t party” even thought the Government ignored the advice, his customers dropped away by 50%. So clearly the public are wary of Covid even if the Tory politicians consider themselves immune.

Last edited 19 days ago by Peter Cuthbert
Mark
Mark
19 days ago

Like most other countries, Wales and Scotland are behaving responsibly and taking this virus seriously, It’s reassuring to know our government can make the hard decisions when it needs to, even when they’re being hampered by the inglish and Welsh tories in the Senedd and Westminster.

Jane Leach
Jane Leach
19 days ago

Thank goodness Mr Drakeford cares for the people of Wales unlike Johnson who doesn’t see illness and death as a problem.

Paul
Paul
19 days ago

The Tories are the ones playing pure politics here. Drakeford may well be wrong. Too soon to say. But he is not the one who believes that only English politicians in England have the right to decide what happens in Cymru. He is not the one who sees the populations in the Celtic fringe as lesser beings.

Richard 1
Richard 1
19 days ago

We have to bear in mind the need to keep the pressure off short-staffed hospitals. I was in South East england over the holiday and observed a seriously unwell woman being sent home from a cardiac surgery ward late on 24th at nil notice and with no support other than friends and family who had to mobilise, also at nil notice. Don’t panic unless you’re ill, and then remember the wisdom of Drakeford and Sturgeon in trying to keep infection levels down.

Adopted Cardi
Adopted Cardi
19 days ago

What the Tory Clowns are doing can be likened to reckless people going up mountains in poor weather. And their rescuers are our NHS staff. New year message to “Welsh Tories” – go East from Wales, keep going, and don’t stop when you get to the border ! The rest of us will have a far happier new year.

Quornby
Quornby
19 days ago

Well, well, well, the tories think they have found a way to spin their preference for money over life and death. In all the endless reportage since the pandemic began hardly a sentence has been uttered or written that separates the two words…. Tory….. and business. When it’s over they’ll have the brass neck to keep the body count off their propaganda outlet at the BBC….. OBE anyone?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
19 days ago

France, with about half the number of cases as the UK, is introducing a whole raft of additional restrictions so it isn’t the Welsh, Irish and Scots who are out of step.

pamfi
pamfi
19 days ago

It seems that Conservative Members of the Senedd had to wait to see what Boris would decide regarding covid restrictions in England before they could vociferously and somewhat self-righteously declare their opposition to the new Welsh covid regulations.
It’s so sad and rather pathetic to see our nominally Welsh representatives following supinely the English party line, but only, of course, after the event. Sad, but no surprise.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
19 days ago

Covid test shortages threaten New Year’s Eve celebrations in England.

Tests were available in all regions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Are the English refusing to adopt restrictions because they are too bloody useless and incompetent or because they are politically motivated to hide their general ineptness and stupidity?

j humphrys
j humphrys
19 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Judging by the letter from Kiosk, the English are doing their Gov’s work for them.

Erisian
Erisian
19 days ago

Boris is too weak to stand up to his own backbenchers and the CRG.
The elected leaders of the devolved counties are simply trying to do the best for their people.
Unlike Boris – who is doing what he thinks is best for him.

I would reserve the term authoritarian for the kind of government that wants to ban protest, and limit the powers of the courts. [ e.g. Russia, Poland, Hungary, Belarus and Westminster]

Last edited 19 days ago by Erisian
Richard 1
Richard 1
19 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

Yes, Westminster is one of the governments attacking the powers of the courts.  Johnson’s moves to limit the judicial review system are “a worrying assault on the legal system and attempt to avoid accountability” according to former cabinet minister David Davis.

Marc
Marc
19 days ago

How come the Welsh Tories waited until their English masters made a decision BEFORE criticising the Welsh Government? They will now have to explain why it’s a good idea when the Westminster government undoubtedly introduces tougher measures in early January, but first let’s have one last super spreading shindig before we do something about it

John Richardson
John Richardson
19 days ago

Your role is to represent Wales not England. If that’s a problem try getting elected for Westminster.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
19 days ago

With a substantial rise in Covid cases in Wales announced today the current restrictions are correct and a necessity to protect not only the Welsh public but our NHS. And I find the moronic attitude of those cretinous Conservative MPs who criticise Wales & Scotland more measured approach to curb rises in Covid childish while figures in England continue to skyrocket childish & pathetic! Those Tory MPs are quite content to see a free-for-all pandemic party in England to appease a minority of far-right ERG buffoons stagering. I can predict come the New Year the Tories will regret their ill-judged… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
18 days ago

It has to be lives before the economy – so Drakeford and Sturgeon are right to impose tougher restrictions. It is better safe than sorry. Even if just one life is saved – it would be worth it. Sadly the Tories in England are looking at the percentages – what a cruel and inhumane way to act.

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