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28 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Wales has power to leave lockdown earlier than rest of UK, Drakeford says

By Samuel Horti

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he is prepared to ease coronavirus lockdown measures before the rest of the UK if Westminster can’t agree a plan with devolved administrations.

“We have the power to do it, definitely,” he told the Guardian. “I’d rather we did it together. If we can’t get to that point and we think there are things that are right to do for Wales then we will go ahead and do that but my ambition is that we do things still together across the United Kingdom.”

He pointed out that Wales had already differed from the rest of the UK on certain measures, including offering testing to hospital staff, and urged the government to stay in closer contact with the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

He had not spoken to Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove for more than 10 days, he said, adding that the “rhythm” of contact was vital. Drakeford has asked to speak to Gove early this week, and to be a part of a meeting of Cobra before the weekend.

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Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to agree a strategy with all parts of the UK, and across party lines.

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