Welsh Secretary warns of tourism 'carnage' in new pressure on First Minister

Credit: PA

An argument between the Welsh and UK Governments over plans to allow tourism businesses to reopen has escalated with the Welsh Secretary writing directly to Senedd members and local authority leaders.

In his letter, Simon Hart urges MSs and heads of local councils to put pressure on the First Minister to set out a 'roadmap' for the tourism and hospitality industries when he announces changes to lockdown rules on Friday.

Without that, he says, there could be job losses and the risk of plunging rural communities into 'deprivation.'

You can read the Secretary of State's letter in full below.

The First Minister has said that he'll give 'clarity' to the tourism industry when he makes his announcement on Friday but has also said that he won't make decisions based on pressure from other governments.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said about the Welsh Secretary's letter:

We thank Mr Hart for his advice, but the First Minister makes decisions based on safety and science rather than lobbying efforts by UK Government Ministers.

Welsh Government spokesperson

This is the latest difficulty between the two governments which have been trying to maintain a united approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week Mark Drakeford said that he hadn't had a conversation with Boris Johnson since May 28th, the last date when a review of lockdown was legally required.

Number 10 confirmed that there'd been no conversation between the Prime Minister and the leaders of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland since the end of May but insisted that the four-nation approach to decision-making was still continuing with regular discussions between officials and regular calls between Michael Gove and the First Ministers.

Mark Drakeford said there'd been no contact with any UK Government minister in the same three week period.

Reaction has been sharply divided.

Elin Jones, the Plaid Cymru MS who's also the Senedd LLywydd or Presiding Officer tweeted that 'I really don't take kindly to this political tactic.'

The Labour Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters, asked if the Welsh Secretary were 'trouble maker or tribune?'

But a Conservative councillor in Bridgend applauded Simon Hart's action.

The full text of Simon Hart's letter is below:

Dear all,

Simon Hart MP, Secretary of State for Wales