Election 2019

General election 2019: Johnson 'showed lack of humanity' over boy's photo

Mark Drakeford
Image caption Mark Drakeford takes questions from assembly members on Tuesday afternoons

The Welsh First Minister has accused Boris Johnson of an "utter lack of humanity" over his reaction to a photo of a four-year old boy forced to sleep on the floor of a Leeds hospital.

The picture in the Daily Mirror spurred complaints about NHS cuts in England.

Mr Drakeford's comments came as he responded to criticism of Labour's record of delivery in Wales.

The Conservative assembly leader said Labour had "failed to deliver a better life" for Welsh people.

The year's final session of First Minister's Questions (FMQs) was dominated by Thursday's general election.

Welsh Conservatives' group leader Paul Davies asked the first minister to accept that Labour had "failed to deliver a better life for the people of Wales" during the 20 years the party had been in power in the Assembly.

Mr Davies added that the first minister's "lack of humility" was "frightening".

In response Mr Drakeford referred to an interview the prime minister gave on Monday where he initially declined an invitation by an ITV reporter to look at a photograph of the four-year old patient lying on a bed of coats at Leeds General Infirmary.

The picture in the Daily Mirror of Jack, who had suspected pneumonia, spurred complaints about NHS cuts.

"Don't talk to us about humility, talk about humanity just for a moment, and the utter lack of humanity that his leader showed at that moment," Mr Drakeford said.

Image caption Paul Davies asked the first minister to accept that Labour had "failed to deliver a better life for the people of Wales"

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price accused Mr Drakeford's government of privatising the Welsh NHS by bringing in management consultants to help address issues.

"You're funding a management consultancy gravy train at a time when front line staff and services like A and E are stretched to breaking point," Mr Price said.

The first minister said his government was investing "record amounts" in the NHS.

Brexit - the central issue of the general election - was raised by the leader of the Brexit Party group Mark Reckless.

Mr Reckless accused the first minister of wanting to "rig" a second Brexit referendum.

Labour's policy is to give voters a choice between remaining in the EU or leaving with a "credible" deal.

Mr Reckless said that in truth that would amount to a choice between "remain and remain".

Mr Drakeford said only his party could give voters another referendum and the leave option on offer would not be one that "guarantees damage to our economy".

The only Liberal Democrat assembly member is part of the Welsh Government and is not given the opportunity to ask the first minister questions on behalf of her party during FMQs.

Analysis by Cemlyn Davies, BBC Wales political correspondent

With just a day's full campaigning left before the country goes to the polls, it was always inevitable that this final FMQs of 2019 would be overtaken by electioneering.

The Llywydd saw it coming. "I do know it's two days before a UK general election," she said as things threatened to spill over, "and I was expecting quite a bit of noise".

For the Conservatives this was an opportunity to launch a wide-ranging attack on Labour's record in government and paint a picture of what Jeremy Corbyn might do if he gets the keys to Number 10.

The first minister pointed to a "decade of austerity" under a Tory UK government, and suggested Paul Davies needed to "practise his stump speech a few more times".

The gloves were off, and for the second successive week Mark Drakeford mocked Adam Price's appearances in the election debates - accusing the Plaid Cymru leader of "running down Wales" on national television, and labelling Plaid "the party of parts of Wales" in reference to its decision not to contest four seats as part of a pact with the Lib Dems and Greens.

Adam Price didn't rise to the bait, but used his time to raise questions about the Welsh Government's approach to the NHS.

The Brexit Party accused Labour of trying to "rig" any second referendum and forthcoming elections by giving the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds.

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