Prime Minister: Meetings with First Ministers of the Devolved Governments

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Viscount Younger of Leckie
Monday 10th January 2022

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Prime Minister last met the First Ministers of the devolved governments, and what matters were discussed at those meetings.

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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My Lords, the Prime Minister held bilateral calls with the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland on 17 December. They discussed the collective response to omicron, including any financial support needed for additional measures, and confirmed plans for further engagement. The UK Government and the devolved Governments continue to work together during this pandemic to save lives and livelihoods across the UK.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, I am sure that I speak for many Members of your Lordships’ House when I say that we are disappointed that the four Governments of the United Kingdom continue to exhibit such difference in policy and execution of policy in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. That said, can we have a guarantee from the Government that there will be proper co-ordination between the four Governments in relation to any post-Covid inquiries, allowing for the economic, social and health impacts of the policies of these four Governments during the Covid pandemic to be analysed for their impact, including, for example, their impact on teenage suicides, which are not publicised uniformly across all four Governments and which should certainly be part of the overall assessment of impact afterwards?

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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Certainly the tragedies of teenage suicides affect the whole of the UK. The new intergovernment review structure is set up to allow closer co-operation and in-depth discussions between the devolved Governments on strategies to tackle matters such as this very important point that the noble Lord has raised. Engagement going forward into 2022 can be at three levels: portfolio engagement at official level; interministerial standing committee level; and, of course, higher up at the heads of devolved Government council level.