North Wales politicians urge Prime Minister to make differences between Welsh and English coronavirus legislation clear
North Wales politicians have written to the Prime Minister urging him to ensure that English public health guidance is not promoted in Wales, as police reiterate that travel restrictions remain in place.
As a result of conflicting lockdown guidelines from the Welsh and UK Governments, Plaid Cymru MPs and MSs have called on the PM to make clear the differing messages on both sides of the border.
With the Welsh Government-imposed restrictions to continue in Wales for a further three weeks, police forces in Wales have issued a reminder that the lifting of the travel restrictions in England does not apply here – and anyone travelling into Wales will be subject to Welsh legislation.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Harrison said: “Whilst minor amendments were made to the legislation in Wales the message to our communities remains consistent.
“We want to make it clear that Welsh Government legislation is applicable here and our local communities should be adhering to the rules outlined in them.”
Arfon MP Hywel Williams, in a letter to Mr Johnson, raised concern over the “inconsistent manner in which the recent easing of restrictions in England has been communicated”, which he says has resulted in “widespread confusion by both members of the UK government as well as the public”.
He wrote: “I’m sure that you would agree with the expert advice on the fundamental point that in many parts of the UK, including Wales, we have not sufficiently suppressed the virus nor have the tools to effectively localise and track this dreadful virus for lockdown to be any more substantially lifted than the small changes made.
“Any premature measure that might ease restrictions and put the lives of our citizens at risk would therefore be wholly irresponsible and a dereliction of our duty as public servants.”
Criticising comments from some Conservative MPs, including that from Daniel Kawczynski MP who described the Welsh Parliament as an “expensive & unnecessary body”, he urged Mr Johnson to distance himself from such views.
“Such comments show a blatant disregard for the sacrifices made in Wales to contain this dreadful virus, the process of devolution and its institutions and threatens to provoke confusion and confrontation between visitors from England and Welsh police on our shared border,” said Mr Williams.
“Fundamentally, behaviour such as this is misinformation and undermines efforts made by public health bodies and local authorities in Wales to contain Covid-19.
“I therefore urge you to ensure that there is coherence in the UK government’s message that the easing of restrictions on Sunday, clarified on Monday, apply solely to England.”
Reiterating that North Wales Police will be monitoring the situation over the weekend, T/ACC Harrison urged the public to use “common sense” and not to think of ways of circumventing the law.
“Focusing on what might result in a fine misses the point of why we’ve been asked to stay at home; to prevent the virus spreading and save people’s lives – including your own or those of your loved ones,” he added.
“We will be operating in a very visible way on our road networks and in towns and villages ensuring that people are complying with the restrictions.
“The mountains, beaches and countryside will be here when this is over for us all to enjoy and everyone will look forward to welcoming visitors back once it is safe again to do so.
“Until then please stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.”
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
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