‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’: Farage Slams Welsh Leader for Strict Covid Rules While Dancing Maskless at Diwali Party

Farage
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has slammed the leader of Wales’s devolved government for being caught on film dancing in close proximity to others while not wearing a mask, despite having imposed some of the strictest rules on citizens in the UK during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

First Minister Mark Drakeford of Welsh Labour was caught on film dancing maskless at a crowded celebration of the Indian festival Diwali last week at Cardiff University. The footage shared on social media, and reposted by the Nation.Cymru news website, went viral on Monday, prompting accusations of hypocrisy.

Wales had imposed some of the strictest rules on its people in the United Kingdom, including banning supermarkets from selling so-called ‘non-essential’ items during the October 2020 firebreak lockdown and even banning supermarkets from selling toys days before Christmas of that year. More recently, the government voted in favour of domestic vaccine passports for entry to large venues like sports arenas and nightclubs, with the requirements extended on Monday to cinemas and theatres.

A number of restrictions also remain in the country including face coverings in indoor public spaces. But a Welsh government spokesman defended Drakeford against accusations he had broken lockdown while dancing maskless cheek-by-jowl during Diwali, telling the Welsh government-sponsored Nation.Cymru on Monday: “Face coverings are not required in premises where food and drink is served.”

Brexit leader Nigel Farage criticised the Welsh leader, saying on Monday: “One of those who has brought down the toughest lockdowns in the United Kingdom, who made it law in Wales that face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places is, of course, Mark Drakeford.

“Drakeford, the tough guy. But it turns out, Drakeford is: ‘Do as I say, but not as I do.'”

Playing the video during his evening segment on GB News on Monday, Farage noted; “Not much social distancing going on there, first minister! Not many face masks in evidence, either. The pathic excuse that we get back from the Welsh government is that you don’t have to actually wear face masks if you’re in premises where food and drink is being served. You just couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?”

Wale’s Drakeford is not the first British leader to be criticised for appearing to break their own covid restrictions, with Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, forced to apologise last December for taking her mask off during a wake, despite Scottish regulations demanding those in such settings, widely described as hospitality, wear face coverings at all times except when seated.

In July, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was caught maskless in a government car with other passengers and a driver despite days earlier recommending Britons mask up in confined spaces, and in contravention of his own recommendations for ministers who are car-sharing. Both the driver and security detail were fully masked.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock was forced to resign from his post after being caught massively breaking social distancing rules when he was pictured kissing his married aide. While the influential scientific government advisor Professor Neil Ferguson was briefly ousted from his position when he was likewise caught breaking lockdown rules to carry on with his affair.

Foreign delegates for the recent United Nations COP26 were also afforded relaxation from many of the coronavirus travel restrictions that ordinary travellers were subjected to, including a reduced or no quarantine for some.

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