First Minister Mark Drakeford calls partygate scandal an 'unholy mess'

  • The First Minister in a sit-down interview with ITV Wales

Mark Drakeford has dubbed the Downing Street partygate scandal an "unholy mess" as he accuses the UK Government of only taking action in areas that might 'shore up' the Prime Minister.

At least eight government parties are being looked into by civil servant Sue Gray and the police are investigating a "number" of those events.

Several allegations of coronavirus rule-breaking have been levelled at the government, with the most recent being an apparent birthday bash for Boris Johnson in June 2020, revealed by ITV News.

In a sit-down interview with ITV Wales, Mark Drakeford said: "It's an unholy mess, isn't it in London with further difficulties today.

"My focus has been less on the fate of an individual, but on what this is doing to the ability of the Westminster Government to do the ordinary everyday things that the rest of us rely upon.

During an interview with ITV Wales, Mr. Drakeford explained that Covid rules would be reviewed again in three weeks

Mr Drakeford added: "So we were promised in January the very very long-awaited white paper on the levelling up funds. Now we're told it's delayed again.

"It's delayed because everything the Westminster government does is seen through the lens of how can this shore up the Prime Minister rather than how can he do the right thing by the country."

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities explained levelling up is about "spreading opportunity, boosting living standards and improving public services" so that every part of the UK can "thrive."

No10 response

A spokesperson said: “People in Wales want to see both the Welsh and UK governments working together to deliver for them, their families and communities.

"Yesterday, the Prime Minister was in North Wales to see levelling up in action – from the investments at Penmaenmawr quarry, the clean green jobs at Orthios Eco-park as well as the opportunities provided by RAF Valley through £175 million of UK government support.

"This Government is entirely focussed on working with the Welsh government to deliver and spread opportunities, and we will set out our Levelling Up White Paper in due course.”

The First Minister made the comments as nightclubs reopen and social distancing and rule-of-six requirements end in Wales.

The country is back to Alert Level Zero from today (January 28) after Mr Drakeford relaxed the Alert Level Two measures in place since Boxing Day.

"We're going into a better time of the year, we know there is a seasonal component to coronavirus." Mr Drakeford said.

"I hope we'll be in slightly calmer waters and we will review the remaining protection in three weeks time.

"And once the conditions are safe to do so, then we hope to be able to lift some of those as well."

"Over 1000 people are in Wales' hospital beds. I think it will take a bit longer in our hospital setting to see a return to normality."