BORIS Johnson faced condemnation from Mark Drakeford after joking about Margaret Thatcher closing coal mines.

Mr Drakeford said the prime minister’s comments were “crass and offensive”, with the collapse of the coal industry causing “incalculable” damage to Welsh communities.

The prime minister had claimed that Mrs Thatcher had given the UK an “early start” in the shift away from fossil fuels by closing pits.

Mr Johnson’s comments, made during a visit to Scotland on Thursday, had already been strongly criticised by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Drakeford added his rebuke to the prime minister, highlighting the economic scarring suffered across swathes of Wales by the decline of coal.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “I’m afraid that those remarks are both crass and offensive.

“The damage done to Welsh coal mining areas 30 years ago was incalculable and here we are 30 years later the Tories are still celebrating what they did.”

Mr Johnson made the off-the-cuff remarks as he was pressed on whether he would set a deadline for ending fossil fuel extraction.

The prime minister hailed existing action to move to greener forms of power, stating when he was a child 70 per cent to 80 per cent of all electricity had been coal-generated.

“Since then, it’s gone right down to one per cent, or sometimes less,” he stated.

Mr Johnson said: “Look at what we’ve done already.

“We’ve transitioned away from coal in my lifetime.

“Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal altogether.”

The Thatcher administration saw the bitter 1984-85 miners’ strike which affected pit communities across the country.

Ms Sturgeon responded by saying lives and communities across Scotland were “utterly devastated by Thatcher’s destruction of the coal industry” adding that it had “zero to do with any concern she had for the planet”.

Labour leader Sir Keir said: “Boris Johnson’s shameful praising of Margaret Thatcher’s closure of the coal mines, brushing off the devastating impact on those communities with a laugh, shows just how out of touch he is with working people.”