'Fixated with politics!' Fury as Welsh FM caught on hot mic branding Boris 'really awful'


Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart, has leapt to the defence of the Prime Minister and accused Mr Drakeford of being “fixated with politics”, rather than fighting COVID-19. Footage of a COBRA meeting between Mr Johnson and First Ministers of the devolved administrations was aired during a programme on Sunday.

The documentary titled Prif Weinidog Mewn Pandemig (First Minister in a Pandemic) showed a clip from a call on December 21, which was held to discuss closing the border with France in the wake of new COVID-19 variants.

In the clip the Prime Minister introduces everyone to the Zoom call.

He said: “Thanks everybody for joining this call.

“I think we must urgently look at the implications of the travel ban that some of our European friends have imposed.

“We will hear from Mark Drakeford and…various others.”

The programme then cuts away from most of the discussion and says it cannot be recorded for security reasons.

Later on, Mr Drakeford is then heard making rude remarks about the Prime Minister.

He said: “Dear me, he really, really is awful.

“Imagine that some deadly new variant of the virus had been discovered in France and they were trying to persuade us that there was no need to take any action to stop French lorry drivers from driving across the continent.”

Mr Drakeford is then asked if he wanted any minutes recorded from the meeting.

In response, he said: “No, I don’t think there is anything at all, other than wringing our hands, a sense of despair.”

Mr Hart has lashed out at Mr Drakeford’s comments and insisted the Prime Minister is always “courteous” to the devolved leaders during these calls and questioned the Welsh First Minister’s approach to the pandemic.

Mr Hart said: “I’ve sat in on numerous calls chaired either by Boris Johnson or by Michael Gove, and at no stage in the margins of those meetings have I ever heard either of them be anything other than courteous to Nicola Sturgeon, the Northern Ireland executive, or ministers from Welsh government.

“And it’s not because they agree with them, it’s not even necessarily because they have much in common. It’s because when all is said and done you respect the position.

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“I just thought it was slightly depressing, and it made me question just how serious the first minister was being about leading the country though a pandemic, or whether he’s actually fixated with politics.

“And I thought that there was more fixation with politics than I found appropriate, and rather too little commitment to actually doing the things that ultimately we’re all there to do, which is to try and get through this pretty awful time for everybody and get out the other side with as much of our community and economy intact as we could.

“I hope that he slightly regrets that clip ending up in the public domain.”

Speaking at the Welsh Affairs Committee on Thursday, Mr Drakeford claimed the Prime Minister’s “lack of regular engagement” with the devolved nations threatens the Union.

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He also described his relationship with the Prime Minister as “remote”.

A UK Government spokesman said: “Now more than ever, the people of the United Kingdom want to see all parts of the country working together to protect lives and livelihoods.

“We have confronted this virus as one UK, working closely with the devolved administrations, including the Welsh Government.

“This will continue as we move to build back better together.”



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