WALES has become a "test bed for left-wing socialist authority", a senior UK minister has told the BBC.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis made the claim while defending his Tory government's controversial decision against providing meals for the poorest youngsters during school holidays.

Under questioning on The Andrew Marr Show, Lewis turned to coronavirus control measures in place in Wales, branding the steps taken by the Senedd as "crazy".

Vaughan Gething, Health Minister for the Labour-led Welsh Government, had earlier told the programme that he would not reverse his team's current ban on the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets.

That's part of a 17-day "firebreak lockdown" aimed at getting the virus under control.

Shelves bearing items like lightbulbs, kettles and baby clothes have been covered with plastic sheets to deter shoppers from attempting to buy them while the restrictions are in place.

Lewis said: "One of the challenges we are seeing in Wales, which has been clearly highlighted, that it has become a test bed for left wing socialist authority, coming out with these crazy outcomes and we have to make sure we don't have that more widely across the country."

When asked about the possible UK Government reduction of self-isolation from the current 14-day set period, Lewis said his administration is trying to "follow the science" to "make sure what we are doing is keeping people safe and protecting our NHS".

The firebreak in Wales began on Saturday but has proven controversial, with around 50,000 people signing a petition which challenges it in just 24 hours.

Public pressure has seen First Minister Mark Drakeford agree to review the measures this week.

But today it emerged that more than 1300 new Covid-19 cases had been recorded in Wales on Saturday in what is a new high.

A total of 16 deaths were also announced in what is the highest number of coronavirus-related fatalities since May.

Lee Waters, Welsh Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, has cautioned that people there should be prepared for repeated lockdown periods until a vaccine is available.

He told BBC Radio Wales: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see."

Waters went on: "The projections and papers we published on our worse-case scenario projections show it is likely we are going to need another firebreak in January or February.”

During his Marr appearance, Lewis was asked if the UK Government has "got the priorities wrong" when Eat Out to Help Out cost £522 million, the bungled Track and Trace system cost £12 billion and feeding the poorest children would cost just £20m per week.

He responded: "I would challenge the premise of that.

"The £12b is across the whole system that's gone from 12,000 tests to 60,000 tests. Over 28m people in this country have been tested, that's more than anywhere else in Europe."

He also pledged to "absolutely protect and abide by the Good Friday Agreement" over Brexit, saying "It is absolutely key."