Mark Drakeford: I would take ‘very dim view’ if parties took place

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Mark Drakeford has said he would take a “very dim view” if he discovered parties had been held in Welsh Government buildings during the pandemic.

Following his Government’s weekly coronavirus update on Friday, the Welsh First Minister was asked by journalists about parties which took place at Downing Street during lockdown.

Mr Drakeford said of the potential for something similar to have happened within Welsh Government buildings: “I’m not aware of any parties or anything of that sort.

“If there had been such an event, then I would take a very dim view of it.

“Time after time, I’ve come here to say that I believe that people who make the rules have a special obligation to make sure that they themselves are following the rules.

“That’s how we’ve tried to conduct ourselves in the Welsh Government.”

Asked about the inquiry into the gatherings at Number 10 being conducted by civil servant Sue Gray, he added: “I know Sue Gray, I’ve been an admirer of her abilities when she worked in the Northern Ireland Office and we would have contact with her as devolved governments.

“My own view has been, from the very beginning, that the report should have been given to someone entirely independent of the UK Government. It should’ve been judge-led, or someone in that independent position.

“I think Sue Gray has been put in a very challenging and pressurised position, and it would’ve been better if some other mechanism, more clear-cut, would’ve been put in place.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to wait until the findings of the investigation into the gatherings are published, however no timeline has been released for the inquiry.

Mr Drakeford was speaking after detailing a two-week roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions in Wales, after the country reached the peak of the Omicron wave and as cases of the virus continue to fall.

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