‘Beyond a joke!’ BBC audience erupts as Politics Live panel demands Brits stay home

UK encouraged to 'stay at home this summer' by Farris

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Brits hoping for a summer holiday abroad this year have vented their frustration over the government’s travel rules. Twitter users responded to a discussion on the BBC’s Politics Live about whether holidays are able to go ahead. The government removed Portugal from its green travel list this week, meaning that British travellers can go to just 11 countries without having to quarantine on their return.

Speaking on the programme, Conservative MP Laura Farris urged people to holiday in the UK given the difficulties of travelling abroad.

When asked if holidays were off she said: “I don’t think they’re off but I do think that people have to exercise caution, and I think most people understand that.

“Because coronavirus isn’t unique to this country, it’s everywhere. We’re making good progress through the vaccination program, other countries are too, they’re a bit behind us.

“So I think people are quite reconciled to the fact if they are going abroad there’s an element of risk there, and the safest option I’m afraid is a holiday in Bognor in the rain probably this year.” 

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Labour MP Sarah Champion, however, voiced her frustration over the government’s changing rules on travel.

She said: “I think unless you have a lot of money behind you, you’re retired, or you own your own business, I personally wouldn’t take the risk.

“And I feel really frustrated because the people in Portugal now, they did everything right. They thought that they were following all the guidance, and it suddenly gets changed.”

She added: “There’s a lot of people in unstable employment at the moment, and for them you’re just throwing all this back up into the air again. You’re getting people who are then meant to be self-isolating who maybe can’t afford to and I just think it’s all been really ill-thought through.”

Online users responding to the video also made their anger over the rules on holidays clear.

“Good luck trying to get something half decent in the UK during the school holidays this summer,” one said. “We lead in the vaccination stakes yet are being kept on our overcrowded & overpriced island. This is beyond a joke.”

One added that the green list did not guarantee a holiday, saying: “There was no certainty given by the Government that the traffic light system wouldn’t change… it’s not just about booking a holiday – it is looking at all the risks and weighing it all up.”

Another argued that travel restrictions were too stringent, asking “What’s the problem if you have been vaccinated?”

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Countries on the government’s green list are those for which travellers do not have to quarantine on their return.

With Portugal’s removal, 11 countries remain, including Israel, the Falkland Islands and Australia.

Those returning from amber and red countries must quarantine for 10 days, at home or in a managed hotel, respectively.

Boris Johnson has said that the travel lists will be open to review over the summer, with countries being added to or removed from each as their coronavirus situation develops.
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