Tory anger after Welsh first minister says Boris Johnson is 'really really awful'

Prime minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street

Prime minister Boris Johnson at Downing Street - Credit: PA

The Welsh secretary has accused the first minister Mark Drakeford of being "fixated on politics" after said that Boris Johnson "really, really is awful".

Simon Hart said that he hopes the first minister now “slightly regrets” a clip of him saying the prime minister “really, really is awful”, which emerged during an S4C film.

The Welsh Labour leader made the remarks following a Cobra meeting over Zoom back in December with  Johnson, who is heard saying he wanted to “urgently” discuss the implications of a lorry travel ban into France.

The footage, broadcast on Sunday, cuts away from the meeting for “confidentiality rules” before the first minister reappears and remarks: “Dear me, he really, really is awful.

“Imagine that some deadly new variant of the virus had been discovered in France and they were trying to persuade us that there was no need to take any action to stop French lorry drivers from driving across the continent.”

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Hart said that hearing the remarks made him question whether Drakeford “is really committed to trying to achieve UK-wide progress on some of the really important challenges that we face”.

He told journalists at an online press briefing: “I’ve sat in on numerous calls chaired either by Boris Johnson or by Michael Gove, and at no stage in the margins of those meetings have I ever heard either of them be anything other than courteous to Nicola Sturgeon, the Northern Ireland executive, or ministers from Welsh government.

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“And it’s not because they agree with them, it’s not even necessarily because they have much in common. It’s because when all is said and done you respect the position.

“I just thought it was slightly depressing, and it made me question just how serious the first minister was being about leading the country though a pandemic, or whether he’s actually fixated with politics.

“And I thought that there was more fixation with politics than I found appropriate, and rather too little commitment to actually doing the things that ultimately we’re all there to do, which is to try and get through this pretty awful time for everybody and get out the other side with as much of our community and economy intact as we could.

MORE: Welsh first minister says UK 'is over' in blistering attacks on No 10's handling of devolution

“I hope that he slightly regrets that clip ending up in the public domain.”

Hart also said Drakeford had “spent quite a lot of time complaining about lack of engagement with the PM, and then is filmed having engagement with the PM”.

“And so you can’t really have it both ways,” he added.

Drakeford told the Welsh Affairs Committee last week he believed the UK “is over” and a new union should be crafted to reflect a “voluntary association of four nations”.

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