Wales politics

Coronavirus lockdown in Wales: Where do the parties stand?

Llanberis, Gwynedd Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wales has been in lockdown since March

Cabinet members will meet later to discuss what, if any, changes can be made to the lockdown rules in Wales.

The first minister will announce their decision at a press conference on Friday.

The Welsh Government's handling of the pandemic, lockdown and economic recovery is likely to feature heavily in the campaigning ahead of next May's election to the Senedd.

So where do the parties stand on what should happen next?

Welsh Labour

While some have criticised the Welsh Labour government for being too slow in easing lockdown restrictions and failing to keep pace with England, the first minister is taking pride in his cautious approach.

On Monday, Mark Drakeford told reporters this strategy was the reason the rate of community transmission - known as the R rate - is thought to be lower in Wales than across the border.

"This is a sign of a success of the way we have done things, rather than an inducement to do an awful lot very quickly," he said.

Mr Drakeford has previously spoken about lifting restrictions according to a "traffic light" model where rules are relaxed incrementally as the country exits lockdown through a red zone, an amber zone and a green zone.

However, up to now he has refused to set out a detailed timetable of when things could change, claiming that giving precise dates could create a "distraction".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption You can exercise more than once a day in Wales as long as you socially distance

Welsh Conservatives

The Welsh Conservatives say they "advocate a safe and sensible" approach to lifting the lockdown but think "the time has now arrived to protect livelihoods" - as well as lives.

As a result, many of the party's demands from this lockdown review centre on letting businesses reopen.

This week the Conservatives have accused the Welsh Government of "dithering" and being "stubborn", in contrast to the Conservative UK government which has relaxed rules further in England.

In particular, the Tories would like to see certain tourist attractions - including zoos - allowed to operate again.

They also want the "cruel" guidance that people should not travel further than five miles from home scrapped, claiming it punishes people living in rural parts of Wales.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru believes public health "should always come first ahead of any easing of restrictions".

However, the party wants the Welsh Government to relax the rules "as fast as scientific evidence allows".

The party has also called on the first minister to publish a more detailed timetable for exiting lockdown, in order to provide businesses with clarity.

"The principle has to be made clear to a patient and cautious public that everything possible is being done to bring back a 'kind' of normality as soon as that is possible, putting all necessary precautions in place to make that possible, not least through robust, fast-working and far-reaching test and trace regime," a spokeswoman said.

Brexit Party

The Brexit Party would like to see all restrictions lifted at once, claiming they have served their purpose and that people should be trusted to apply "their judgement and common sense".

"We should end attempts at micro-management and lift restrictions generally," group leader in the Senedd Mark Reckless has said, adding that "we were told they were to protect the NHS and its capacity, and they have done so".

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