MP questions Transport Secretary over conflicting Covid travel rules across different parts of the UK

Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has branded conflicting Covid travel rules across different parts of the UK as “confusing and awkward for passengers and tourist industries”.   

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, James raised concern regarding the varied travel restrictions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who agreed the differing approach is causing confusion.

Responding in Parliament to the Transport Secretary’s Statement on ‘Travel Corridors’, James said:  

“Travel corridors are a necessary, albeit blunt, instrument to control covid levels in this country, and I welcome my right hon. Friend’s further announcements today. However, does he agree that differing rules across different parts of the UK are confusing and awkward both for passengers and tourist industries?”

In his response, the Transport Secretary told James that only by the four nations working jointly will decisions be made that confuse people less. 

He said: “It is important that we work as four nations as closely as possible together, and I will continue to look for opportunities and ways to do that, including through a lot of information sharing to enable us, I hope, to come to decisions that confuse people a bit less.”

Speaking afterwards, James said:

“The fact that the rules are different depending not even on which airport in the UK you are flying back into, but where you then go on to travel to, is making it extremely problematic for passengers and tourist industries. It is also indefensible when these divergent policies are all based on the same scientific advice.

“People have had months of this kind of unnecessary variation and I therefore welcome the fact that the Transport Secretary is keen to work with all UK nations to ease the confusion out there.

“In the meantime, I urge people to be cautious when considering future travel plans. It goes without saying that we all want to return to normal life, which for many includes foreign travel, however people need to be mindful that travelling during coronavirus is not without risk. As the Transport Secretary said in his Statement in the House last week “those who do travel should go with their eyes open.”

“Before making any plans people must bear in mind that not only is breaching quarantine an offence which can gain you a criminal record, it is also putting lives at risk.”