Welsh Secretary says he has to ‘bite his tongue’ on devolved issues
The Welsh Secretary has said that he has to “bite” his “tongue” on devolved issues.
Simon Hart, the Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, made the admission while being quizzed on Cross Question with Iain Dale on the LBC radio station.
The Tory also politician criticised the Welsh Government’s move to introduce Covid passes in Wales, saying it has an “air of tokenism”.
They are being introduced after a vote in the Senedd which passed with 28 votes for and 27 against. This was made possible by Tory MS Gareth Davies, who was at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, failing to register his vote.
In the interview Hart insisted that the UK Government is “really careful” about “respecting” the “Senedd’s right to express a view on these things”.
However, he then went on to argue against Wales having its own Covid rules “where possible”, saying “public compliance” would be “best served” by “rules for the UK being for the UK”.
On the introduction of Covid passes in Wales, Simon Hart told LBC: “Well we’ve always been, we’ve had to be really careful about respecting Welsh Government’s and the Welsh Parliament’s, the Senedd’s right to express a view on these things.
“I think from our point of view it is a very, it is a controversial area, and I think the problem with it is it’s a self-certification proposal. So in fact, even tough, even if it gets imposed, all it requires is for people to say ‘ye I’ve been jabbed twice’.
“You could just go, queue up for the nightclub and say ‘I’ve been jabbed twice’ and they’ll let you in, and whether that’s good legislation, I have to say I’m not surprised the vote was so tight because I think a lot of people thought this has an air of tokenism about it and might not actually solve the problem it’s designed to resolve.”
‘Bite your tongue’
Iain Dale said: “And as Secretary of State for Wales you are obviously a member of the UK cabinet and yet this is a devolved matter. Do you sometimes have to sort of bite your tongue on these issues a bit?”
Hart replied: “Well of course. I mean part of our, the relationship we have is we try at any rate to be based on respect, try to respect the devolved parliament’s ability to legislate in these areas.
“But you know where possible I do think you know that public understanding and public compliance is best served by, particularly around Covid, the rules for the UK being for the UK.
“Once you get differences in between you know Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire or Herefordshire and Worcester then it gets really complicated and people start getting frustrated and businesses start getting hacked off. It’s you know a UK-wide solution to the Covid problems.”