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GMB’s Richard Madeley blasts England’s face mask policy as ‘shambles’

Richard Madeley has described the upcoming policy on face masks in England as a “shambles”.

The Good Morning Britain presenter was interviewing Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford alongside his co-presenter Susanna Reid on Thursday’s instalment of the ITV breakfast show.

As Wales plans to ease restrictions on July 17 to Alert Level One, the Welsh government will continue to make the wearing of face masks mandatory by law in some settings to protect citizens from the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, these include on public transport, indoor public places and health and social care settings.

Masks will no longer be mandatory in Wales for hospitality settings from August 7 when the country moves to Alert Level Zero.

Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid spoke with Welsh Minister Mark Drakeford on Good Morning Britain

This policy is similar to Scotland which plans to move to Level Zero of restrictions on July 19 but keep the need for face masks on public transport, in shops, and in hospitality settings when not seated.

However, the UK government is lifting the legal requirement for masks on July 19 and is only strongly advising members of the public to wear them in some settings with guidance instead, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating that they want a greater focus on “personal responsibility”.

Despite this, there are mayors across the country including Mayor for London Sadiq Khan and Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham who are taking action to make it necessary on some public transport methods, while businesses such as supermarket Sainsbury’s and book store Waterstones are continuing to make the wearing of face masks a rule for using their stores.

Mark Drakeford was asked by Richard about the "shambles" of the UK government policy on face masks
Mark Drakeford was asked by Richard about the “shambles” of the UK government policy on face masks

When speaking with Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford, Richard noted that the Welsh government’s advice was “clear” in terms of wearing masks, but asked: “It’s a shambles this side of the border, isn’t it?”

Richard noted that businesses issuing rules for wearing masks and municipal mayors introducing their own regulations where possible to make face masks mandatory makes the government’s policy confusing.

“And yet the government are saying, as Susanna says, it’s no longer a legal requirement,” noted Richard. “It’s a shambles in England, isn’t it?”

Richard Madeley was critical of the mixed messages surrounding face masks
Richard Madeley was critical of the mixed messages surrounding face masks

Mark Drakeford answered: “I think it will be difficult for people in England to know exactly what is required of them. I’ve often been told by the UK government that we should have a four-nation approach to coronavirus and I don’t disagree with that at all.

“But with this issue, the mask issue, we should be clear, it is the UK government that is the outlier and if they were prepared to bring themselves into line with the decision that we made in Wales and in Scotland, for example, that would be clearer and simpler for everybody.”

Richard and Susanna noted they would put his point to UK government minister Robert Jenrick when they spoke to him

*Good Morning Britain airs on weekday mornings from 6am to 9am on ITV with past episodes on ITV Hub.

What do you think on the plans for face masks in England and the rest of the UK? Let us know in the comments below.

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