Boris Johnson dismisses calls to stop locked down English from holidaying in Wales

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, Londo

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has acknowledged that some of the coronavirus restrictions around the United Kingdom appeared illogical, but rules out preventing English people currently in lockdown from travelling to Wales while restrictions are in place.

The prime minister was facing calls to prevent people from locked-down areas of England travelling to Wales after first minister Mark Drakeford wrote to Johnson highlighting the matter.

Johnson said it was “inevitable” that there would be different approaches and “seeming illogicalities” in the response to the virus.

The request for Johnson to act follows concerns about residents in areas with high levels of Covid-19 transmission travelling to parts of Wales with much lower rates, potentially spreading the virus.

Queues of walkers were pictured on Snowdonia over the weekend, while there were also reports of traffic jams at tourist destinations in the country.

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In Wales, people must not enter or leave areas subjected to local lockdown restrictions without a reasonable excuse such as going to work.

Travelling into or out of such an area for a holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.

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The Welsh government has also urged people across Wales to avoid non-essential travel.

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts followed up the concerns, telling MPs: “From tomorrow, 2.3 million people in Wales won’t be able to travel out of the country without good reason. Yet people from lockdown areas in England can still visit rural Wales.

“Travelling from Betws-y-Coed to Beddgelert could land you with a fine. But Rochdale to Rhosneigr? No problem.”

She told Johnson that “leisure travel from lockdown areas has got to stop”.

Johnson replied: “There are different measures in place … but, overall, the UK is proceeding with the same approach and I am very grateful to Mark Drakeford and to everybody else in the Welsh government for the way we’re working together to defeat the virus.

“Yes, there will be some differences, and, yes, there will be some seeming illogicalities, that is inevitable, inevitable in tackling a pandemic.”

Wales’s education minister Kirsty Williams described the travel restrictions enforced in the country as “an important part of safeguarding and bringing the virus under control”.

She said Johnson had been asked to implement the same measures in England as the Welsh government believed it would be “a very helpful way of controlling the virus even further”.

“In the first instance, we do believe it is for England to make these provisions on behalf of English citizens and we await a response from the prime minister,” she told a press conference in Cardiff.

Drakeford’s letter called for Johnson to give “urgent consideration” to imposing the travel restrictions in areas of England with high levels of coronavirus infections.

“This would be a significant step in lessening the risk that we collectively face, and give communities in border areas considerable reassurance that we are taking every possible step to protect them,” Drakeford wrote.

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