There has been much debate of the supermarket ban on selling non-essential items during the fire-break lockdown.

Since the ban came in on Friday, October 23 the Welsh Government has been under pressure to reverse the decision. A petition against the ban has now reached nearly 67,000 signatures on the Senedd website.

Opposition politicians pounced on this and have been critical of the Welsh Government.

Shadow minister for health, social services and sport, Andrew RT Davies, tweeted and retweeted more than 70 times in four days condemning the decision including labelling it a "socialist’s wet dream".

However the Welsh Conservatives have been accused of hypocrisy and opportunism by Labour who accuse them of supporting the policy right up until it was introduced.

So did the Welsh Tories initially back the non-essential supermarket ban?

There is no simple yes or no answer to this.

The reason people are saying that the Welsh Tories backed the move is because, on Thursday, October 22 (the day before the fire-break came in) Conservative shadow minister for the economy and transport, Russell George, pressed then seemingly praised the First Minister for bringing in the non-essential item sales ban.

Speaking in the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister, Mr George asked Mark Drakeford about the ban, saying imposing it was "fairer".

He said: "With regard to which businesses are required to close, in the previous lockdown, there were businesses such as clothing and hardware shops that were required to close, but those businesses such as Asda, Morrisons and Tesco were selling those items of clothing and hardware, and it felt very wrong and disproportionate for small businesses.

"Are the new regulations that you've published this morning and the further detailed list that I think is about to be published - I think you're telling us - will that incorporate a fairer approach in terms of which businesses are required to close, dealing with some of the issues I've outlined?"

The First Minister responded: "I think in the first set of restrictions, people were reasonably understanding of the fact that supermarkets didn't close all the things that they may have needed to.

"I don't think people will be as understanding this time, and we will be making it clear to supermarkets that they are only able to open those parts of their business that provide essential goods to people, and that will not include some of the things that Russell George mentioned, which other people are prevented from selling. So we will make sure that there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks."

Mr George seemed to approve saying: "Well, it's good to hear that, and I appreciate that there'll be a fair system - either that those supermarkets can sell those items, and so can other businesses, or it's the same across the board."

You can watch a video of what Mr George said here:

But two days later, Mr George said he did not support the ban on non-essential goods and claimed that he was in fact the one who had unearthed the whole policy. He tweeted: "I don't support the Welsh Government's approach to banning non-essential sales in Welsh shops, I’m the one that got the FM to admit his plans! Retail should be open, the national lockdown is wrong approach #LabourLies."

It would seem from Mr George's quotes above, and this is how many have chosen to read them, that he, a member of the Welsh Conservatives shadow cabinet, had expressed "appreciation" that the policy was coming in - therefore the Tories supported it. On top of this, Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies was asked about this on BBC Wales the following day.

Mr Davies was asked: "The government is looking at this with all due respect because your own economy spokesperson was advocating it yesterday in a Senedd committee so it's come from Russell George, your own economy spokesperson?"

He did not refute this, instead saying: "Yeah, that's why I understand the Welsh Government is actually looking at this, but it shouldn't have come to this in the first place because, as you know, we believe that introducing this temporary national lockdown is disproportionate and will actually hit businesses and hit the economy very, very hard."

However this does not necessarily mean that the Welsh Conservatives were supportive of banning the sale of non essential items in supermarkets, just that they were opposed to the fire-break lockdown. The same day as Mr George spoke in the committee Andrew RT Davies was repeatedly denouncing the rules on social media.

Also, there wasn't any official statement from the Welsh Conservatives calling for the ban. On the contrary they have been vocal in their opposition to the fire-break, instead wanting a series of local lockdowns.

The crux of the whole debate is Mr George's muddled sentence in which he clearly says "it's good to hear that" in response to Mr Drakeford saying it will be made clear to supermarkets that they'll only be able to sell essential goods, before then saying he would "appreciate" a fair system, but that that system would be that "either that those supermarkets can sell those items, and so can other businesses, or it's the same across the board".

So did the a senior Welsh Conservative suggest it would be desirable to ban the sale of non-essential goods in supermarkets if non essential business had to close? Yes he did.

Is that what he meant? Who knows.

Was this the policy of the Welsh Conservatives more broadly? It doesn't seem so.