Mark Drakeford, the first minister in Wales, has denied that his decision to bring forward the easing of some restrictions in Wales by two weeks is to do with the forthcoming Senedd election.
The Welsh Labour leader said the changes are due to the creation of “extra headroom” in the public health situation amid criticism from opposition parties.
Indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults such as exercise classes, and the reopening of community centres are being brought forward from May 17 to May 3, PA reports.
It means Wales will now complete its move to Alert Level 3 by May 3 – three days before the election – but the Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru have accused Drakeford of using his powers as well as Welsh government press briefings to unfairly influence the forthcoming election.
Asked about the criticism by opposition parties, Drakeford told Sky News on Friday:
If I had to be announcing more difficult news today, opposition parties would be demanding that I was there making that announcement.
I make that announcement every three weeks. I’ve had to do it on some very difficult days when the news has not been good.
Today I have to return to the podium, as I have every three weeks, to let people in Wales know the assessment of the current state of the virus in Wales, the decisions we’re able to make on their behalf, our assessment of what can happen in the future, and to remind people in Wales that coronavirus is by no means over.