6 Mar, 2024 @ 13:10
1 min read

War of words breaks out between Madrid premier Isabel Diaz Ayuso and Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz, after suggestion that Spain’s restaurants stay open too late

Ayuso President Of The Community Of Madrid Speaks About Accusations Of The Pp
Madrid, Spain; 17.02.2022.- Isabel Diaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, appears before the press because the leadership of her party, the Popular Party (PP), headed by Pablo Casado, is investigating whether Ayuso favored her brother in a public contract. Photo: Juan Carlos Rojas

A WAR of words has broken out between the Madrid premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, and Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz, after the latter suggested that Spain’s eateries stay open too late.  

“It is not reasonable for a country to have its restaurants open until 1am,” said Diaz, who is the leader of leftist alliance Sumar, which is the junior partner in the Socialist-led coalition government. 

“We cannot try to keep extending timetables until who knows what time,” Diaz, who is also Spain’s labour minister, added on Monday, arguing that working beyond 10pm can be a risk to mental health. 

The minister, speaking at a meeting in the Congress of Deputies, described Spain’s famous late-night dining culture as being out of step with the rest of Europe. 

Ayuso, from the conservative Partido Popular, was quick to take to X (formerly Twitter) to slam Diaz’s comments. 

“We are different,” she wrote in a tweet on Monday. “Spain has the best nightlife in the world, with the streets full of life and freedom. And that also brings jobs. They want us to be puritans, materialists, socialists, with no soul, no light, and no restaurants because they feel like it. Bored and at home.”

Ayuso’s last comment was interpreted as a veiled reference to the strict Covid-19 lockdown imposed by the Socialist-led government during the first six weeks of the pandemic. 

Ayuso dominated headlines and won widespread support among voters in Madrid for her opposition to the measures taken by the administration of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez during the health emergency in 2020. 

Diaz, in response, dismissed Ayuso’s comments as ‘frivolous’. She said that her party was ‘in favour of leisure time’, and that proof of this was that ‘we want to reduce the working day’.

“Out timetables are very different from other European countries,” she added, during an interview on state broadcaster TVE. Ayuso, she continued, ‘appears to have forgotten that from 10pm these are working nights and they have certain mental health risks at work and have to be paid in a different way’. 

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