Welsh Conservative MP criticised for promoting England-only coronavirus guidance in Wales
Clwyd West MP, David Jones, has been criticised for promoting Boris Johnson’s new lockdown guidelines when they don’t apply in his own constituency.
Last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the lockdown would be eased in England, including permission to travel to exercise.
Meanwhile, First Minister Mark Drakeford has not changed his government’s ‘Stay at Home’ guidance and said that people should only exercise in their local area.
Police forces in Wales have reiterated the Welsh Government’s guidance, fearing an influx of travellers within and into Wales mistakenly following England’s lockdown laws instead of Wales’.
But David Jones MP, a former Secretary of State for Wales, updated his Twitter profile to include the England only stay alert message and promoted the changes on his timeline.
Plaid Cymru’s Clwyd’s West candidate, Dr Elin Walker Jones, said that the mixed messaging was in danger of confusing the public.
“We need to be clear that here in Wales the rules are people must stay at home,” she said.
“David Jones is sending a confusing message to his own constituents and putting people’s health at risk, it’s very disappointing.
“It seems he is more interested in currying favour with the Prime Minister than serving his own constituents. He should change it immediately.”
Aberconwy MP Robin Millar also posted a message on his Facebook page criticising the Welsh Government for promoting a different message to the UK Government.
“Why did they think it was helpful to make an early announcement on Friday, before our Prime Minister’s planned announcement tonight, Sunday, about what would happen from Monday?” he asked.
However, he said the divergence made it “unclear how this difference prevents people from travelling to Wales to their property or to enjoy the many parts of the countryside that are still open”.
The Welsh Government have said that people should not travel to exercise, including travelling into Wales.
Robin Millar also said that he would contact the Chief Constable to discuss the policing of these new matters.
“Policing as you will be aware remains a UK government matter,” he said. In practice, the police follow the laws passed by the Welsh Parliament, including those relating to coronavirus.
‘We can do this’
Last night Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford responded to the Prime Minister’s statement by saying that “our advice has not changed in Wales”.
Health is devolved to Wales and so the bulk of the response to the pandemic is managed by the Welsh Government.
“This evening, the Prime Minister has set out the minor changes, which are proposed to the lockdown rules in England over the next three weeks,” he said.
“I set out the modest changes to the stay-at-home regulations we are making in Wales on Friday. These will come into force tomorrow afternoon.
“Here in Wales, we will change the regulations so people can exercise more often and allow garden centres to open, if they can comply with social distancing.
“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.
“Coronavirus has not gone away. The way we behave over the weeks ahead will continue to have a profound impact on our NHS and our ability to save lives.
“If you go out, stay local and stay safe.
“We will continue to make decisions, which are right for Wales, using information and expert advice about how coronavirus is circulating here to keep us safe.
“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.
“Thank you for all your help and support. Together we can do this.”