UK Politics – BBC News

Welsh
Secretary Simon Hart has said the question of whether a deal for extra testing
in Wales with a supplier collapsed, and why that might have happened, is a matter
for Welsh ministers.

It
follows the collapse of a deal the Welsh Government has said it had with Swiss
pharmaceutical firm Roche to provide 5,000 extra coronavirus tests a day.

Roche
has insisted it “never had a contract or agreement directly with Wales” to
supply coronavirus testing and its priority was to “support the UK government
and NHS to scale up testing across the whole of the UK, including in
Wales”.

Ex-Welsh
secretary Stephen Crabb, who now chairs Westminster’s Welsh affairs committee,
has written to Mr Hart saying the reported collapse of the deal raises questions
about “co-ordination and co-operation between Whitehall and Cardiff Bay in the
procurement of tests and other essential equipment”.

Mr Hart
told BBC Wales political editor Felicity Evans: “The arrangement between the
company in question and the Welsh Government was set up by that company and the
Welsh Government and I will point Stephen in the direction of them as
respectfully as I can.”

But he
said the “key thing is attempting to keep ahead of this huge global and
national-international problem”.

“I don’t
think that ambition is best served by having an internal debate about whose
signature was at the bottom of a piece of paper,” Mr Hart added.

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