Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed calls to implement a ban on people from English Covid-19 hotspots travelling into Wales.
Addressing the Commons, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville-Roberts said that 2.3 million people living in Wales wouldn’t be able to leave the country under lockdown rules.
But the difference in rules between the Welsh government and UK government means people in areas of England under local lockdown restrictions can still visit rural Wales.
She urged the PM to address the issue, saying: “Travelling from Betws-Y-Coed to Beddgelert could land you with a fine. But Rochdale to Rhosneigr? No problem.
“I raised this with the Prime Minister last week… leisure travel from lockdown areas has got to stop.
“Will he make good on this today?”
Mr Johnson appeared to skirt around the question, admitting there were ‘inevitable illogicalities’ about the rules, but did not suggest those from coronavirus hotspots would be made the subject of travel restrictions.
Replying, the Prime Minister said: “There are different measures in different places, but overall the UK is proceeding with the same approach.
“And I am very grateful for Mark Drakeford and the Welsh government for the way we are working together to defeat the virus.
“Yes there will be some differences, and yes there will be some seeming illogicalities, but that is inevitable in tackling a pandemic, but I am grateful for the co-operation that is being given.”
It comes after the Welsh First Minister called on the Prime Minister to ban people from places with high levels of the disease being able to travel freely into Wales.
In Wales, where people in areas in local lockdown are banned from leaving the county without a reasonable excuse, in England there are no such restrictions.
Welsh local lockdown rules tell people not to travel outside that area unless they have a reasonable excuse – and going on holiday is not deemed a reasonable excuse.
This means that people in Bolton, Greater Manchester, which is currently in a local lockdown and had 231 cases per 100,000 people in the last week, are able to travel to Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire on holiday whereas people in Newport, Gwent, which has 50 cases for the same number of people, could not.
He said he had ‘written to the Prime Minister urging him’ to put travel restrictions English on lockdown areas.
The FM said he would not want to bring in border controls but instead is calling on Mr Johnson to act.
He said: “I don’t think it is right for us to institute a set of border controls trying to prevent people from elsewhere visiting Wales.
“I think that would lead us into all sorts of anomalous and difficult territory, but I do think that as we act to prevent people who live in hotspots in Wales from travelling to England and taking the risk of the virus with them.
“So the Prime Minister in his capacity as the Prime Minister of England in this case ought to do the same to prevent people from English hotspots from travelling elsewhere in England to Wales or other parts of the United Kingdom because of the risk that that undoubtedly poses.
“I wrote to him yesterday asking him to do that, urging him to call a COBRA meeting for this week, as the First Minister of Scotland did at the weekend, and I look forward to a reply.” n