Jacob Rees-Mogg has attacked “hard left socialists” and denounced plans to ban people travelling from Covid hotspots to Wales as “unconstitutional”.
Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford announced an entry ban to Wales on Wednesday to stop people from parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The ban will come into force on Friday if the prime minister fails to impose nationwide travel restrictions.
Rees-Mogg was asked today in the Commons if he could “confirm that it would be illegal for the Welsh Labour government” to do so, and replied: “What would you expect of a hard-left Labour government?
“The approach to putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional and will place the police in an invidious position considering that they serve the whole of the United Kingdom.
“We are one single United Kingdom and we should not have… borders between different parts of the United Kingdom. And I’m afraid that is what you get when you vote for socialists.”
‘The PM could have acted, he could have helped people’
Earlier Drakeford expressed his “bafflement” on Boris Johnson’s “unwillingness to take action”, telling BBC Breakfast the issue is about visitors from high-incidence Covid areas visiting low-incidence areas.
“The prime minister says he has issued guidance, but the problem with guidance is that the police can’t take action on guidance. They have to have the force of law.
“The prime minister could have acted, he could have helped people in Wales, and elsewhere, to protect themselves against the flow of virus into areas where the virus is still effectively suppressed.
“He could still contact me today, he could still change his mind, and then we wouldn’t need to do what we are doing, but so far I have no success in persuading him of this simple and straightforward course of action. This is a public health emergency, I am obliged to take action to help to keep Wales safe.”
80% of young Scots support independence
During the Common’s session, the SNP MP Douglas Chapman pressed Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House on why the government’s “taxpayer funded poll” on Scottish independence has not been published.
Chapman asked the question via-video link and made reference to “polls released this week [that] suggest almost 80% of young people in Scotland would vote for Scotland to be an independent country.
He reminded that Rees-Mogg has just “made the case for parliamentary scrutiny” and asked why the UK government won’t publish the polls and answer questions asked by “parliamentary my colleagues”.
‘Government has got nothing to hide’ – Rees-Mogg
“What has Her Majesty’s Government got to hide?” asked Chapman later tweeting: “It’s like they don’t want us to find out the answer…”
In the Commons Rees-Mogg replied: “Mr Speaker, HM government has nothing to hide. It’s worth reminding the Honourable Member there was a proper poll, a poll where people went and with a pencil cast an X. In 2014 an X marked the spot and the spot was remaining in the United Kingdom.”
Rees-Mogg has also ruled out a return to virtual parliament causing outrage among MPs forced to shield for medical reasons. When the decision was originally taken it led to long queues of socially distanced MPs winding their way through the parliamentary estate forming, what was mockingly termed, the ‘Rees-Mogg conga’ in order to vote. The Leader of the House was then accused of “effectively euthanising vulnerable MPs”.