In today’s First Minister Questions, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives has challenged Mark Drakeford to tell the public whether he will argue against domestic vaccine passports in Cabinet and to commit to a Welsh-specific Covid inquiry.
However, the First Minister, in an answer lasting two and a half minutes, left the Senedd non-the-wiser, failing to clarify if he was still opposed to domestic vaccine passports, like the Welsh Conservatives.
When asked again by Andrew RT Davies to answer the question, the First Minister failed to confirm whether vaccine certification will soon be introduced in Wales or not.
The Scottish Parliament recently voted to introduce passports, while the British Government has scrapped the plans to bring them in for England, leaving Wales as the only part of Great Britain without a position on certification.
Stressing that decisions made in Wales should be scrutinised in Wales, Davies pressed Drakeford on why he continues to avoid a Wales-specific inquiry into the actions of Welsh ministers during the pandemic.
Over the summer, Medics4MaskUpWales, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, the Institute for Welsh Affairs, and the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru Group have all come out in favour of an inquiry focussing on the Welsh Government.
The Scottish Government has commissioned an inquiry into its actions and the UK Government has confirmed a UK-wide inquiry, although many of the decisions made by British ministers only affected England, risking the decisions of Drakeford and his Cabinet being overshadowed.
Speaking outside the chamber following FMQs, Andrew RT Davies MS said:
“I’m really disappointed in the First Minister: he always stresses that a great deal of the decisions made during the pandemic were down to him, but he’s running scared of an inquiry to look into them, while refusing to share his position on the possible introduction of vaccine passports.
“He spoke at great length yet minutes later we were none the wiser regarding the First Minister’s thinking despite the many downsides and few merits of such certification.
“Most shameless of all is when the First Minister suggested on multiple occasions that he might change his mind if the UK remit is not to his liking, despite claiming to the Senedd he’s content with the proposals put down. He’s playing a political game which is an insult to grieving families who have lost loved ones in Wales during this crisis.
“As the Welsh Conservatives have always said, a Wales-specific inquiry is essential in delivering justice for those affected by the virus and lockdowns. The longer Mark Drakeford goes without confirming an investigation, the more people will ask why.”