BBC QT: Zahawi furiously points out Labour’s hypocrisy on travel ‘Captain hindsight 2.0!’

Nadhim Zahawi clashes with Labour MP on travel policy

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A BBC Question Time audience member asked whether travel should be completely scrapped until later this year as some are confused over the rules and fear the spread of variants. Nadhim Zahawi defended the Government and said the rules were easy to understand adding travel to amber or red list countries should only go ahead if absolutely necessary. However, the Labour Party’s Nick Thomas-Symonds grilled the Tory frontbencher and said travel should be suspended completely until later this year.  

Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, Mr Zahawi answered a question on travel and whether it should go ahead at all. 

But the Tory minister took the opportunity to attack Mr Thomas-Symonds.

He told the programme: “The problem with the Labour position is Nick’s position, and he is the shadow Home Secretary, is one. 

“His minister in the home office, Conor McGinn, has a different position on this because he wanted to basically pause all travel from anywhere and then you had a different position.

“And tonight, it’s the third position from Labour, the reality is this is really, really difficult. 

“This year is not a normal year and people should look at both the Foreign Office advice on travel but also the countries whether it be the green list countries and their advice because we are all having to deal with this pandemic and the whole world.”

Earlier in the show, Mr Thomas-Symonds called for all international travel to be paused until later this year. 

He also said the amber list should be abandoned.

Johan Lundgren: It’s legal to travel to amber list countries

In response, the Labour shadow minister said: “With respect that is not correct, our position is to pause the loosening of international travel and think again. 

“In terms of getting the green list into place, I think it needs a very short period indeed to get those 12 countries onto the green list. 

“They will be then reviewed on a three week period and we know there is another checkpoint on June 28. 

“What the government needs to do is urgently sort out the mess at the airport we can all see happening and support the airport to be able to separate those passengers in a safe way.

“Secondly, put the amber list onto the red list you can then move very quickly to that green list.”

Mr Zahawi responded and said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was in conversation with airports to sort out the issues at queues. 

He called Mr Thomas-Symonds “Captain Hindsight 2.0” before host Fiona Bruce was forced to interject into the lively debate. 

Travel restrictions were lifted on May 17 meaning it was no longer illegal to travel internationally without essential reasons. 

However, the Government is urging anyone who is travelling to amber or red lists to only go if absolutely necessary and will be subject to quarantine rules on return. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said police would be ramping up door-to-door checks to ensure people are isolating on return and have the power to issue fines up to £10,000. 

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