Tory MS who failed to vote on Covid passes backs claim than Welsh Government ‘exploited’ the error
A Tory Senedd Member who failed to vote to block the introduction of Covid passes in Wales has backed a campaigner who claimed it showed an “alarming disregard for democracy” and that the Welsh Government had exploited the error.
The NHS Covid pass for clubs and large events will be introduced on Monday after Tory MS Gareth Davies failed to get on Zoom to cast his vote last night, which was only won by the government by one vote.
The Welsh Conservatives have blamed “technical difficulties” for why Gareth Davies could not take part, but have not explained where he was or what the nature of his difficulties were.
But the Head of Research at civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch tweeted yesterday to criticise Senedd speaker Elin Jones’ decision to move on and conduct the vote without Gareth Davies being present.
“Whether you support Covid passes or oppose, Elin Jones’ decision to deny Gareth Davies MS a vote on them and the exploitation of a technical glitch by the Welsh Gov to pass a major attack on civil liberties shows an alarming disregard for democracy,” he said.
Gareth Davies then quote tweeted the message to agree with the message, saying “Sad but true”.
The Senedd and Welsh Government are separate institutions and speaker Elin Jones is from a party, Plaid Cymru, that voted against the Covid passes.
In a statement last night Elin Jones said she gave the member “every opportunity” to be present.
“It is a member’s responsibility to give themselves sufficient time to secure their Zoom connection in time for voting, just as it is for any member travelling to the Senedd to vote,” she said.
None of the Senedd groups, including the Conservatives, have so far asked for the vote to be re run.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan has since said that the vote will not be re-run, saying that re-running votes is not “how democratic processes work”.
“You don’t keep on having a vote until you get the answer that you want,” she told the BBC.
“Actually this is a system that’s been in place for about four months already. People have been using it throughout the summer.
“What we know is that the people of Wales want to be protected.