Labour “don’t know if they’re coming or going” on travel lists and tests

The Labour Government in Cardiff Bay has been accused of grandstanding by the Welsh Conservatives as ministers finally admit that having different rules across the UK caused “confusion and enforcement challenges” after months of creating contrary laws.

Health Minister Baroness Morgan used an official Welsh Government statement today to complain about the British Government’s decision to scrap often expensive PCR Covid tests on returning to the country.

The new rules also removed the need for pre-departure testing and simplified the travel list from a traffic light system to a single red-list. The decision was made to make holidays cheaper for families, boost the aviation sector, and reflect the high vaccination rates in the UK.

However, that did not stop Morgan from complaining that different rules in England and Wales caused issues when policing those rules, despite being part of a government that spent a year and a half brushing aside such concerns from other parties.

Yet, in the same statement, she writes “we will align with the other UK nations and intend to make these changes by 4 October” when it comes to the travel list change. She did not complain about the need to align here.

The news comes only days after the Labour Government were forced to u-turn on denying private sector provision of PCR tests, after the public monopoly created higher prices for families to travel.

Not long before, the Minister had said she wanted to discourage people in Wales from travelling abroad, while the “virus is circulating globally”, suggesting the Welsh Government is ruling out overseas travel in those terms indefinitely as most experts determined that Covid-19 is “going to be with us forever”.

 Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:

“To use an official statement to be so petulant is simply grandstanding. The decision to update the rules on international reflects the UK’s brilliant vaccine story as well as the desire for families to go on holiday more cheaply with greater certainty.

“So to see Labour’s health minister also have the audacity to complain about this change along the lines of having different rules across the UK being confusing and difficult to enforce when her government has spent 18 months revelling in such behaviour is disappointing to say the least.

“Sadly for the people of Wales, Labour don’t know if they’re coming or going with travel lists. The Welsh Government can’t permanently live in fear of another variant of Covid. Again, the Minister’s arbitrary rationale behind her decision-making would have the borders shut indefinitely.

“Today, Mark Drakeford will be telling Labour to look to Wales to see what Labour can do – if Starmer is looking for a lesson in how to whine rather than govern, then he couldn’t pick a better example.”

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