FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford during his press conference today attacked the lack of communication with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying ”there is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom”

Mr Drakeford said:

“In this most difficult week, there has been no meeting offered to First Ministers of any sort. Since the 28 May, there has been just one brief telephone call from the Prime Minister.

“This is simply unacceptable to anyone who believes that we ought to be facing the coronavirus crisis together.

“We need a regular, reliable, rhythm of engagement: a reliable meeting even once a week would be a start. I make this argument not because we should all do the same things, but because being round the same table allows each of us to make the best decisions for the nations we represent.

“There is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom, and it needs urgently to be filled, so we can talk to each other, share information, pool ideas and demonstrate a determination that the whole of the country can face these challenges together at this most difficult time.”

Nicola Sturgeon backed Mr Drakeford’s comments saying ”Mark Drakeford is not saying anything that is not correct”

Scotland’s First Minister added that she could not remember the last time she had spoken to the prime minister directly, ”which maybe tells its own story”

Nicola Sturgeon also went on to reiterate her call for an immediate COBRA meeting which is the Civil Contingencies Committee that is convened to handle matters of national emergency or major disruption.

”It would be very helpful to have a PM-led four nations cobra. type discussion over this weekend. The moment we are in right now is probably the most critical point of decision since the one we faced late March”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the cancellation of London’s traditional New Year’s eve celebrations also has criticised the lack of communication by Boris Johnston.

Commenting on the first full day of a local lockdown that begins in Rhondda Cynon Taf Mr Drakeford said that Merthyr and Newport remained under close observation too as their case rates remained high

Mr Drakeford added that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus had risen to 41 with four people in intensive care. and he called it a “sobering” increase

The First Minister commented that the R number in Wales was almost certainly now above one – meaning the virus is spreading exponentially again. The latest estimate, he said, was between 0.7 and 1.2.

It is estimated that the R number for the whole UK to be in the range of 1.1 to 1.4

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