Wrexham ‘the epicentre’ of the UK fight against coronavirus says Boris Johnson
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Boris Johnson has hailed Wrexham as the “epicentre” of the UK’s fightback against Covid-19 as he visited the marginal before the Senedd election on May 6.
It follows the Prime Minister paying a visit to a sports equipment supplier on the town’s industrial estate, which has reportedly doubled its turnover during the coronavirus pandemic.
Net World Sports has also employed 85 new staff members since the start of the year.
During the Welsh Senedd election campaign event held earlier today, Mr Johnson was given a tour of the company’s base on Bryn Lane by CEO Alex Lovén.
He also praised staff based at the nearby Wockhardt UK plant for their role in producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The Prime Minister’s comments came as he tried to deflect questions over the growing conflict between him and his former senior adviser Dominic Cummings.
He said: “I think what people want to talk about here on this beautiful day in Wrexham is not that kind of thing, they want to talk about what we’re doing for them, our plans for Wales and the whole of the UK.
“It’s amazing to be here in Net World Sports, which is a company that has actually doubled the number of its employees during the pandemic.
“I have just personally helped to export a golf net to Australia from Wrexham.
“What people want to know is what are we doing to promote job growth and to help this part of the UK to bounce back strongly.
“We’re actually in the epicentre of the UK fight against coronavirus.
“I think Wockhardt is not very far away from here at all, that is the factory where people have been working more or less around the clock to produce tens of millions of doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that have been absolutely indispensable to our national fightback.”
As part of their manifesto, the Welsh Conservatives have made a number of promises to people in north Wales.
They include improvements to road and rail links, the creation of new community hospitals in Flint and Rhyl and working with the UK Government to establish a “freeport” in Holyhead.
However, the party has been criticised over a lack of information regarding how the projects will be funded.
Westminster has also been warned not to “trample over devolution” by involving itself in areas which are the responsibility of Welsh ministers in Cardiff Bay.
In response, Mr Johnson hit out at the Labour-run Welsh Government for spending £144m on a study into plans for the M4 relief road in Newport, only to shelve the scheme.
He said: “If you look at what’s happening on the railways to improve links into Liverpool and Merseyside, then you do good things for businesses like this one here in in Wrexham and for Airbus in Broughton to help to intensify the conglomeration of events you’re already seeing in some of those sectors.
“It’s fantastic to see the potential of Wales so those are the things I’m focused on.
“Transport is devolved which is one of the problems we have, so you have episodes like the Brynglas Tunnels on the M4, which I never tire of repeating.
“I think the Welsh Labour government managed heroically to spend £144m on a study before binning the study. We want to get things done.”
Welsh Labour countered by highlighting its performance in rolling out the Covid-19 in Wales.
A spokesperson said: “Boris Johnson has hopefully come to Wales to learn lessons from the fastest vaccine rollout combined with some of the lowest coronavirus rates in the UK, being delivered by the Welsh Labour Government.
“He should’ve taken the opportunity to apologise for his North Wales Tory MPs who have repeatedly undermined the collective effort to keep Wales safe.
“After that, he should’ve explained why the Tories in the Senedd have voted multiple times against measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus.
“People in Wales know the Tories never put the interests of Wales first.”