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Coronavirus: Plaid Cymru calls for televised debate

1 month ago 28
Adam PriceImage copyright Getty Image caption Adam Price taking part in a BBC general election debate in Cardiff last year

Party leaders in Wales should take part in a televised debate about the coronavirus crisis, according to Plaid Cymru's leader.

Adam Price has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford asking him to support the idea of a public debate.

Mr Price claimed there had been "less scope for scrutiny" during the pandemic.

Labour politicians dismissed his suggestion, with one accusing him of playing politics during a pandemic.

In his letter, Mr Price said: "The past few months have been politically unprecedented and a time of great distress for many as they lose loved ones or suffer job insecurity.

"Naturally, decisions had to be made at short notice, but it is regrettable that there has been less scope for scrutiny as our parliamentary processes adjusted to the new normal."

Ahead of an expected second surge of the virus in the coming months, Mr Price suggested this was the time to be "learning lessons".

'Away from the heat'

"Sharing ideas - challenging and embracing them - is an integral part of our democracy as we strive to ensure that the people of Wales are best represented.

"In that spirit, I believe that now is the time for a public debate between the leaders of the major parties in Wales.

"The people of Wales would benefit from a mature and measured debate, away from the heat of the 2021 election campaign."

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mark Drakeford held regular televised news conferences at the height of the pandemic

A Plaid Cymru source said a televised debate would be the "best format" for such a discussion as it would allow more people to watch.

But Labour Caerphilly Senedd member (MS) Hefin David said the Senedd was the "place for scrutiny".

Responding on Twitter, he said: "Party leaders have ample time (some backbenchers feel too much at their expense) during parliamentary sessions. Now is not the time for an election campaign."

Fellow Labour MS Alun Davies added: "This is a time for a serious response to one of the biggest challenges of our age. Not to play politics."

The Welsh Government has been asked to comment on the Plaid Cymru leader's call.

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