‘On Covid, we’re all f****d’: Wales Health Minister’s pandemic texts revealed

Eluned Morgan’s “fruity language” followed plans to open UK borders to French people during the Omicron wave

THE Welsh Health Minister texted a ministerial colleague warning “We’re all f****d” after hearing about possible plans to open UK borders to vaccinated French people during the Covid pandemic.

Eluned Morgan’s phone mesages from the summer of 2020 were presented as evidence to the Wales module of the Covid Enquiry, which ends this week.

Morgan was also shown a message she had sent to the Northern Irish health minister, reading “We are all doomed,” after a separate Covid meeting assessing the threat of the Omicron variant.  

Morgan apologised for the “fruity language” and insisted that there was not an air of fatalism around the Welsh Government during their handling of the pandemic.

She said the explicit text followed her attendance at two different meetings on the same day, one of which suggested allowing vaccinated French people to travel to the UK and the other which discussed whether France should be put on the red (banned) list of countries.

I think there was clarity within the regulations, but people often wanted us to read the regulations for them.

MS Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services

Later, Morgan was questioned on whether Welsh Government ministers understood the Covid regulations, after being shown texts where Ministers had asked her for clarification on certain issues.

“I think there was clarity within the regulations, but people often wanted us to read the regulations for them,” said Morgan.

A lack of clarity was a theme throughout the day, as the Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans, who was next to take the stand, spoke about their difficulties getting information from the UK Treasury.

“We didn’t have any concrete information from the Treasury so we had to set out what we assumed would be coming to Wales,” said Evans.

Evans explained that even though Covid funding was mentioned in the UK Spring budget for 2020, no clarity was provided until the Autumn statement six months later.

“The Treasury was in a unique position to stop the devolved governments from taking timely decisions,” said MS Evans.

Jeremy Miles – in the running to become the next First Minister of Wales – also touched on communications between governments, saying policy would often come from the UK government and need to be “rapidly distributed” among ministerial colleagues in the Senedd.

All three ministers who gave evidence today were asked about their use of WhatsApp during the pandemic. Both Evans and Morgan repeatedly mentioned the “reams and reams” of messages they had provided to the inquiry, when asked about those they were missing.

When asked about the messages he had deleted during the pandemic, Miles said: “In light of subsequent events I wish I had kept them.”

Tomorrow, following his ministers’ lead, the outgoing First Minister Mark Drakeford will take the stand on the penultimate day of the inquiry.