First Minister accused of ‘disregarding democracy’ by Welsh Conservatives


First Minister Mark Drakeford has shown a “disregard for Welsh democracy” by choosing not to first announce coronavirus policy statements at the Welsh Parliament, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives’ group has said.

Paul Davies also attacked Mr Drakeford for choosing to appear before MSs remotely from his office less than three miles away from the Senedd just days after placing 12 local authority areas in South Wales under lockdowns.

Addressing the First Minister at Tuesday’s plenary, Mr Davies said: “Last week, you chose to make an announcement to the media that affected hundreds of thousands of people right across South Wales.

“You failed to answer questions on the timing of your statement, and this week you’ve decided not to even turn up in person.

“That disregard for Welsh democracy is unacceptable.”

Welsh Conservatives leader Paul Davies
Welsh Conservatives leader Paul Davies

Mr Davies asked Mr Drakeford to guarantee any future decisions would be first announced in the Senedd “in the interest of openness and transparency”.

Mr Drakeford, speaking via videolink from the Welsh Government offices in Cathays Park, replied that every member was able to participate “remotely or in person”.

Mr Drakeford continued: “I say to people in Wales all the time that they should avoid unnecessary journeys. And I believe that I’m equally able to answer questions in the way that we are doing now as I would be if I were in the chamber.”

Addressing Mr Davies, Mr Drakeford said statements had been regularly made at the Senedd throughout the pandemic “when his government at Westminster wasn’t available to answer a single question from any elected representative”.

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