William Hague calls for more co-ordinated response to easing lockdown

There should be a more co-ordinated response to easing lockdown restrictions across the UK.

William Hague visits Welshpool. Picture: Phil Blagg
William Hague visits Welshpool. Picture: Phil Blagg

That's according to the former Secretary of State of Wales and Leader of the House, William Hague, now Lord Hague of Richmond.

While outdoor table service resumed in cafes and pubs were also able to re-open their beer gardens in England this week, across the border in Wales pubs stay firmly closed and cafes and restaurants can only offer takeaways for another fortnight.

Speaking in Welshpool Lord Hague who with his wife, Lady Ffion, live just outside the town, said the governments of the devolved nations should have had a a more common approach to easing lockdown restrictions.

"Sometimes there is a good reason to be different, that's why we have devolution. It's not clear there's a good reason to be different this time."

Russell George and William Hague visit to Coco Coffee House and the Celtic Company, Welshpool. Pictured with Rachel Bates from the Celtic Company, Russell George and Lord Hague Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

He talked to the owner of the Coco Coffee Shop in the town centre, Jo Harris, who said: "We have had pavement tables when allowed during the pandemic which have been great. Cafe culture is something that is becoming more and more popular.

"I don't understand why at the moment customers can buy coffees and then sit on walls to drink them, but can't sit on pavement tables."

Russell George, who is the Conservative candidate for Montgomery for the Senedd, said he believed that sometimes the Welsh government was playing politics with lockdown restrictions.

Lord Hague said that the biggest success had been the UK wide vaccination programme.

Russell George and William Hague visit to Coco Coffee House Pictured with Jo Harris. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

"It would have been a more awkward situation if there were four different approaches to the vaccination. Governments have worked together well and some very big, important and successful decisions were made for the UK. It's been our biggest success."

Lord Hague and Mr George praised the Conservative pledge to bring back the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).

Lord Hague said that while Secretary of State for Wales he worked closely with the WDA.

"There was a really joined up approach to helping the Welsh economy and business," he said.

Russell George and William Hague visit Welshpool

"It is good to see Welshpool much busier today than it has been - I pop in every week. Sadly some of the businesses here before the pandemic are no longer here."

He also praised Russell George for representing Montgomery in the Senedd for the last decade.

"We have an excellent and really experienced candidate. For someone like me who has been living in the area for six years, it's very noticeable what he does for the area."

As a Lord William Hague is barred from voting in the UK general elections.

"But I do have a vote in the Welsh Senedd elections," he added.

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