Official residence for Mark Drakeford would be 'overkill' despite protests outside his home

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An official residence for Mark Drakeford would be "overkill" despite concerns for his security, a former first minister for Wales has told ITV News.

It comes after anti-lockdown protestors gathered outside Mr Drakeford's family home at the weekend, prompting some to question the protection Welsh ministers are given.

Carwyn Jones condemned the protestors, saying they should have voiced their opinions outside the Senedd instead. However an interview with ITV Wales, he maintained that he was against an official home to provide extra security for the first minister.

"The First Minister of Northern Ireland doesn't have an official residence. The First Minister of Scotland does but that's largely an anomaly.

"I think that would be overkill, I wouldn't have wanted an official residence in Cardiff and people would start asking questions about the cost and whether it was value for money."

Around 500 people began demonstrating at City Hall on Saturday as part of a nationwide protest against the lockdown, with many then moving on to demonstrate outside Mr Drakeford's home in Cardiff.

Some could even be heard shouting "arrest Mark Drakeford".

South Wales Police said the protest passed peacefully adding "no offences were identified and no arrests were made."

Mr Jones said those outside the First Minister's home did not consider his safety or that of his neighbours.

Nicola Sturgeon outside of the First Minister of Scotland's official residence at Bute House in Edinburgh. Credit: PA Images

ITV Wales previously asked Mark Drakeford in June if he thought he needed more security, but it was his belief Wales is a "safe enough place".

"There are days when you think it is a sensible thing to do because anybody can stop you and anybody can say anything they like to you, but you make a judgment don't you?", he said while being interviewed for political programme Sharp End.

"I think we are still a safe enough place and the First Minister in Wales can go shopping, can walk to work and can do the ordinary things I try to do."

In response to Saturday's protest, the former Labour Home Secretary and chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, Jacqui Smith, said it is important politicians are still part of ordinary life.

"It's a good thing about our democracy that the First Minister of Wales doesn't live in a big house, locked away from the people he is representing.

"You'll get exactly what you don't want which is remote politicians who want to lock themselves away if we can't find a way of enabling protests and enabling disagreement that doesn't end up on somebody's front door step."