'Make US travel easier': Emma Raducanu's MP after parents missed her historic win

14 September 2021, 13:15 | Updated: 14 September 2021, 19:40

Emma Raducanu's parents were unable to watch her win the US open live
Emma Raducanu's parents were unable to watch her win the US open live. Picture: Alamy
Theo Usherwood

By Theo Usherwood

Ministers need to step up their efforts to resume travel to the US from the UK after Emma Raducanu’s parents were unable to watch her win the US Open live, their MP told LBC today.

Gareth Bacon, the Tory MP who represents the parents of 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, told LBC: "I think it would be reasonable for them [US authorities] to reciprocate towards us."

Emma's parents were unable to be courtside for their daughter’s famous win at the US Open at the weekend because of continued travel restrictions.

They are understood to have applied too late to obtain the required waiver to allow them to watch the match. Emma herself said they would have needed a two-week lead-up time to get the document they needed.

Travellers in the UK, like those in the European Union, China, Brazil and Iran, have been unable to visit the States for 18 months after the former president Donald Trump imposed strict rules in a bid to try and slow the spread of the virus throughout the United States.

But as Emma’s parents Renee and Ian have discovered in the last few weeks, those rules are still in place, and the US State Department has shown no sign of relenting, even in the most exceptional circumstances.

Thousands of other British travellers are in the same position, putting on hold holidays, business ventures, not to mention the chance to see family after a series of gruelling lockdowns.

Indeed, Emma herself said she would have loved to have had her parents in the stands as she clinched her first Grand Slam title and secured a promotion from A-level student to sporting superstar.

This morning, the vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi defended the Government’s failure to secure a breakthrough for the Raducanus, insisting officials had been successful in working with the US but only in so far as welcoming American travellers to the UK.

Now, Mr Bacon – the MP who represents the family down in Orpington – thinks Dominic Raab needs to press the particular issue of the UK remaining on the US “red list”.

He told LBC: “We do not need to start recovering from the pandemic and I think we need to trust the vaccines. We do it for the United States, so I think it would be reasonable for them to reciprocate towards us.

“I am sure the Foreign Secretary and his team having been speaking to their counterparts in the United States but I think pressing it more would be a good thing.”

And he also welcomed the idea of an open top bus victory tour through Bromley if the teenager wanted it.

“I had a chat with the leader of the council yesterday to see what might be planned by the London Borough of Bromley,” Mr Bacon added.

“The whole of the borough is immensely proud of her. They have been trying to reach out to Emma's people to try to put together something that she might want to do.

“To you and I that might be say do a bus tour around the borough or something. But she might be uncomfortable with that and so it's about her.

“I don't know her vaccine status. Obviously, she is 18 and so she would have had the opportunity although she has been travelling a lot. Yes, we will obviously have to obey the law but whatever is feasible to do I very much hope that we do it.”