Boris Johnson does not have the “moral authority” to lead the UK, Mark Drakeford has said.

The First Minister questioned the Prime Minister’s ability to lead the country this morning, following more claims of lockdown partying in Downing Street.

The Welsh Labour leader has also told the BBC's flagship Today programme he believes a "compelling case" can be made for the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson has been facing fresh allegations of lockdown rule breaking after it was claimed that a birthday party for the Prime Minister was held.

Downing Street has now conceded that staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room following a meeting after it was alleged 30 people attended and shared cake despite social mixing indoors being banned.

The National Wales: (PA)(PA)

ITV News reported the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, had organised the surprise get-together complete with a chorus of “happy birthday” on the afternoon of June 19, 2020.

Mr Drakeford said: “I just don’t think that the Prime Minister has the moral authority to lead a country like the United Kingdom.”

Appearing on the BBC’s Today programme on Tuesday he added: “You cannot be someone who asks other people to do things – difficult, upsetting things – that you are so patently unwilling to do yourself.”


A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “A group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the Prime Minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than 10 minutes.”

ITV News also reported later that evening family friends were hosted upstairs to further celebrate the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday in his official residence.

However, No 10 said: “This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.”

During the first minister's interview on the Today programme, broadcast from Cardiff, he also reiterated his support for the union but said it needed 'respect' between governments to work.

Asked if different approaches and use of powers in response to the Covid pandemic had made Wales "more Welsh, more separate" Mr Drakeford replied: "I believe in the United Kingdom.

"I believe there's a compelling case to be made that will make people want to be a member of that sort of union in Scotland, Wales and England too but the pandemic has drawn to the surface the fact for 20 years in Wales we've been making our own decisions, doing things in our own way that allows us to create solutions that meet our own circumstances."

Asked if that could lead to people "like you" asking Westminster for more powers in the future Mr Drakeford said: "For me I don't think it is so much a matter of powers it is about respect, having a set of institutional relationships in which we are able to get round the table together and where the different responsibilities we have are respected by one and other."

He said Britain had "stumbled through coronavirus" with "ad hoc" arrangements but inter governmental processes need to be clarified.

The first minister said he believed a "strong social security system and a redistributive tax and benefit system" are what keep the UK together.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.