Politics

Wales' Mark Drakeford blasts 'paralysed' Boris Johnson over Covid lockdown dithering


Dithering Boris Johnson is still weighing up whether to bring in restrictions after Christmas – despite both Wales and Scotland setting out their plans. Wales’ First Minister blasted a ‘UK government simply unable to act’

Wales’ First Minister today blasted dithering Boris Johnson for being “paralysed” over whether to introduce a post-Christmas lockdown.

Mark Drakeford hit out at the UK government for failing to announce restrictions after Boxing Day, even after Scotland and Wales both did so.

The Labour politician said: “When we see the evidence, and we’re told about the actions we can take to protect people, we will take them.

“I think there’s a real contrast with the paralysis of a UK government simply unable to act.”

He said UK ministers “see the data but they’re not prepared to act on it”, adding: “I think the UK government is in a state of paralysis about all of this. We see the reports of infighting within the Cabinet.”

UK ministers met on Monday but clashed over whether to introduce strict new measures to curb the surge of the Omicron variant. And 100 Tory MPs voted against the much less severe Plan B measures last week.







Mark Drakeford said: “I think the UK government is in a state of paralysis about all of this”
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Getty Images)

Boris Johnson last night ruled out new restrictions on Christmas Day but dropped a heavy hint that extra rules could come in afterwards.

And UK Health Minister Gillian Keegan today warned people in England they may have to cancel New Year’s Eve plans.

Scotland and Wales’s leaders have both hit out at the UK government for giving too little financial support to hospitality venues facing decimation.

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds told Times Radio: “Rumours that have spread since suggest that really this is about disagreement within a group of senior Conservatives, jockeying for position to be the next leader of the Conservative Party.

“Rather than actually soberly looking at the evidence both health and economic evidence and taking a decision.

“We do need a Government right now that is now focused on the national interest, not infighting within the Conservative Party.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer last night stopped short of backing a circuit-breaker lockdown but said it was for the government to bring forward new plans.

Mr Drakeford today announced Wales will order pub and restaurant punters to obey the ‘rule of six’ from 6am on Boxing Day in a wave of new measures to fight the Omicron variant.

The six-person limit on each social group will apply in “regulated premises” in Wales – which includes all hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres.

Pubs and restaurants will need to seat people with table service only; collect customers’ contact details, and have two-metre social distancing between each table.

Face coverings will also be required for people walking around in pubs and restaurants – unlike in England where they are not necessary.

Elsewhere large events in Wales will be banned both indoors and outdoors, as the country reinstates ‘Alert Level 2’.

Indoor events of more than 30 people will be banned and outdoor events of more than 50 people will be banned.

It comes hours after Nicola Sturgeon also announced tough new Covid curbs after Christmas – with mass gatherings banned in Scotland and pubs reverting to table service.

Football matches and other outdoor events in Scotland will be limited to only 500 spectators from December 26, meaning Boxing Day games will effectively be fan-free.

Indoor standing events will be limited to 100 people, with 200 punters allowed at indoor seated events – and outdoor events it will be 500 seated or standing.

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