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Johnson accused of being unaware of the risk that Covid-19 poses to travellers

Sir Keir slams government's mixed messages over whether people should travel to amber-list countries

BORIS JOHNSON was accused of losing control over Britain’s borders and of being unaware of the risk that Covid-19 poses to travellers as he was questioned during PMQs today.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer repeatedly questioned the Prime Minister on why travel restrictions have been eased for 170 countries or territories, such as France and Spain, after they were moved onto the government’s amber travel list.

Sir Keir insisted that “absolute clarity” is needed over whether people should travel to amber-list countries before he highlighted the mixed messages given by ministers.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said that holidays and leisure travel should still be restricted to the limited number of countries deemed safe by ministers, such as Portugal, which feature on the quarantine-free “green list.”

But Environment Secretary George Eustice said that people could go to amber-listed countries as long as they observed quarantine rules on their return.

Speaking in the Commons, the PM recognised that new Covid-19 variants entering Britain are a risk to the June 21 unlocking date, but said that Britain has “one of the strongest border regimes anywhere in the world.”

He told MPs: “We are trying to move away from endlessly legislating for everything and towards relying on guidance and asking people to do the right thing.”

Sir Keir pressed the PM to explain how many people are travelling to Britain from amber-list countries each day.

The Labour leader said: “Since the government loosened travel restrictions, 150 flights a day are going to amber-list countries and travel agents are reporting surges in holiday bookings to those countries.”

Mr Johnson replied that there has been a 95 per cent reduction in travel of any kind to and from Britain.

Sir Keir argued the government does not think people should travel to amber-list countries but “has made it easier to do so.”

He said: “The messaging is confused and contradictory, and as a result, this week, many people are now travelling to amber-list countries, but the government can’t say how many or when.”

Sir Keir said it was “ridiculous” that the government had decided to “weaken” border controls, as the new Indian variant spreads across the world.


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