“A blatant disregard towards devolution”- Welsh Lib Dems attack UK Conservative government over failure to work with Welsh Government during pandemic

14 Mar 2024

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the UK Conservative Government for their apparent unwillingness to work with the Welsh Government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Welsh leg of the UK Covid inquiry has brought to light the fraught relationship between both governments during the height of the pandemic.

The inquiry heard that a mass testing centre had been built in Cardiff without either of the Welsh Government or Public Health Wales having prior knowledge.

The current First Minister Mark Drakeford also told the inquiry that he found it “extraordinary” that the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t meet devolved leaders in the early stages of the pandemic.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

It was deeply troubling to learn of the troubled relationship between both the UK and Welsh Government’s during the Covid-19 pandemic

It is sadly yet another example of the indifference shown to Wales by the UK Conservative government, an indifference that has been evident throughout their decade long spell in power.

From what has been uncovered so far by the UK Covid Inquiry, it is clear that there existed a disturbing lack of willingness to work with the Welsh Government at a time when cooperation was desperately needed.

The Conservatives have consistently shown a blatant disregard towards devolution, therefore the attitude taken by both Boris Johnson and his cabinet at the time should hardly come as a surprise.

Time and again, the people charged with keeping the country safe, saw themselves as above the law, working to save their own skin whilst thousands of families could not see their loved ones or say goodbye.

I am thankful for the work being done by the team behind the ongoing UK Covid Inquiry in holding to account the decision making of government officials before, during, and after the pandemic.

It is a shame however, that there has not yet been any signs of a Wales-specific Covid inquiry.

It is vital that we hold the Welsh Government to account for the actions and decisions they made before, during and after the pandemic.

The Welsh government must understand the impact of their decisions by actively engaging with those who have lost so much because of the pandemic.

The families of those who have died from this horrific disease deserve answers, they deserve closure.”