Mark Drakeford slams delay in COBRA meetings and tells Boris Johnson they must be regular

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Mark Drakeford told LBC that more communication is needed between Boris Johnson and the devolved administrations during the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Drakeford has echoed similar calls made by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week.

Mr Drakeford said: “I had a conversation with the Prime Minister myself on Monday of this week and we had a Cobra meeting on Tuesday.

“My view has always been those conversations are always useful and they always lead to better informed decisions by us all.

“My frustration has been that those conversations have not been regular enough, not been reliable enough.

“The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that Cobra would be reinstated as a more regular feature of the way the four nations of the United Kingdom get round the table together.

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“I do hope that is the case.

“It was a very useful meeting on Tuesday, but what I don’t want are one off, sporadic, last-minute meetings called in a crisis and then weeks of silence.

“This isn’t the way we should get through this the best.”

He added: “Taking a generous view, the Prime Minister is incredibly busy, he’s got a big range of responsibilities and we’re all reacting to very quickly changing circumstances.

“There are some practical things, and that’s why I have been trying to argue getting these meetings in the diary in advance.

“If they’re not needed, they can always be cancelled, but if you don’t have them there they become very difficult to arrange, so that’s one sort of explanation.”

Earlier this week Scotland’s First Minister criticised the delay in announcing the next date for a COBRA meeting between the four nations of the United Kingdom. 

On Monday, when discussing the new coronavirus restrictions imposed across Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said:  “Ideally some of these decisions will be taken on a four nations basis across the UK.

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“We all of course have our own individual responsibilities and we will perhaps take decisions that are not entirely identical but given that virus does not respect borders, alignment if possible does make sense.

“It is the UK Government that holds the financial leavers necessary to mitigate the economic impact of any measures.

“That is why I asked on Friday for an urgent COBRA meeting and repeated that call over the weekend.

“That call has been echoed in Wales and London.

“It is frustrating that we still do not have a precise time for that and do not have confirmation if that will take place today or tomorrow.”

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