Welsh Secretary ‘wishes’ Wales hadn’t been allowed to set its own Covid rules
The Westminster-appointed Welsh Secretary has suggested that he wishes Wales had not been allowed to set its own Covid rules.
In an interview with Times Radio, Simon Hart said that he would have preferred it if “we could have approached all of the Covid reactions and interventions as one UK”.
The Tory MP made the suggestion after being asked about the comments of Baron Frost, who sits in the House of Lords, who claimed that the pandemic had shown that it was “nonsense” having different rules in different parts of the UK.
Writing in the Telegraph, Frost said said that the step was necessary to “save Boris, the Conservative Party and the country”.
A recent opinion poll showed that 60% of people in Wales preferred the Welsh Government’s approach to tackling the pandemic.
The YouGov survey also suggested that 17% of people in Wales preferred the approach to tackling the pandemic taken in England by the UK Government, while 10% said they don’t know and 13% said neither.
During an interview with Simon Hart, Times Radio broadcaster Matt Chorley said: “On the subject of Covid, your former Cabinet colleague Lord Frost, said it was nonsense for Wales to have its own Covid rules. Do you agree with him?”
Simon Hart replied: “I must say that I wish that we could have approached all of the Covid reactions and interventions as one UK. I think it would have been easier to communicate that to the population. I think it would have been easier to administer.
“We would have got a greater degree of public understanding and compliance for longer, and the real truth is, and sometimes people do say well ‘you know didn’t Welsh Government handle it rather better? Weren’t the outcomes rather better?’.
“The reality is if you look at all of the measurements of success or failure, whatever they might be in Covid, actually there was precious little difference between England and Wales.”
‘Rebuild the UK nation-state’
In his article for the Telegraph, Lord Frost said: “First, we must rebuild the UK nation-state as a collective endeavour for everyone within it,” he said.
“The democratic nation-state is the best way human beings have found to create political community and loyalty, to facilitate solidarity, and to make people feel part of something bigger.
“A country with self-respect cannot have its laws set by others. We must therefore finish the business of re-establishing our sovereignty in Northern Ireland – step by step, if necessary, but with no doubt about the final goal.
“We should put an end to ‘devolve and forget’ in Scotland and Wales. Local decision-making is fine, but it should come within a sensible national framework. The pandemic made clear the nonsense of having four different travel and public health policies.”
He also called for stopping “inward migration” and not “conceding special privileges to people purely because they are members of a favoured group” so that the government could “build a more cohesive Britain”.
“Any other path means fragmenting and ultimately undermining our collective life in this country,” he said.
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