Minister defends quarantine hotel plan but refuses to comment on number of rooms booked

5 February 2021, 09:24 | Updated: 5 February 2021, 09:32

Nick Ferrari scrutinises minister over securing 0 quarantine rooms

By Kate Buck

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly today refused to comment on whether the government has managed to secure any rooms at all for the hotel quarantine scheme, with just 10 days before it is due to start.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at breakfast, Mr Cleverly insisted the Government had organised the hotel quarantine in the correct way.

It was announced last night that this would go live from 15 February - but Mr Cleverly said the formal requests for rooms only went out last night.

There needs to be an estimated 28,000 hotel rooms across the country used for incoming travellers from "red list" countries to quarantine for 10 days to avoid potentially spreading a Covid variant in the UK.

The Chief Executive of the London hotel group earlier told LBC's Nick Ferrari he was only asked yesterday lunchtime about providing hotel rooms for the scheme.

But Mr Cleverly insisted that "hotels know if they're near an airport", when asked why chains hadn't been asked sooner to express an interest.

When asked why this hadn't been done a week ago - when the scheme was confirmed - he added: "We've been working to make sure we know what we need to ask of the hotels.

"The idea that this has come as a surprise to the hotel industry in concept is an unfair accusation."

Defending the Government's handling of the implementation, Mr Cleverly said: "We call a warning order to say this is coming, more details to follow. Which is exactly what we’ve done.

"The more details have come out as I say overnight. We’re asking at this stage for expressions of interest, that doesn’t take very long to tell, particularly as I say if you’re a hotel and you’re next to a major airport, you’ve got a pretty good idea that you’re the kind of hotel we’re looking for."

The Government has already faced criticism for not bringing in the hotel scheme sooner, like New Zealand and Australia did and had far more success in controlling infection rates.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A police car was overturned in the disturbance

Chaos in Leeds as police car overturned in riot, with locals told to stay home amid serious disorder

Primary school teacher struck off after anonymous letter exposed her as £1,600-a-night escort

Primary school teacher struck off after anonymous letter exposed her as £1,600-a-night escort

The Brit drowned after being pulled away by strong currents.

British tourist drowns in front of girlfriend during Lake Como boat trip


Former police station - complete with holding cells and custody suite - goes on sale on RightMove

Atker used tubes of Aluminium Phosphide to exterminate bedbugs

'Desperate' woman spared jail after deadly gas used for bedbug infestation kills 11-year-old girl

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid as campaign hits back at 'baseless conjecture'

Zara McDermott opened up about the "extremely distressing" events that occurred behind the scenes at Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly Come Dancing's Graziano Di Prima admits to kicking Zara McDermott

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer vows to tackle migrant crisis 'at source' as he announces £84 million in aid for Africa and Middle East

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Fundraiser set up in bid to raise money for family of Blackpool couple killed in fire

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide, including Sherine Chong (left)

US woman insisted on making tea for victims before poisoning them in cyanide murder-suicide plot at Bangkok hotel

Just Stop Oil founder Roger Hallam jailed for five years over M25 protests

Five Just Stop Oil activists - including founder Roger Hallam - given record jail sentences over M25 protest

Border Force returns migrant boat to France for first time in history after refugee dies in the Channel

Border Force returns migrant boat to France for first time in history after refugee dies in the Channel

Sir Geoffrey Boycott was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002.

Sir Geoffrey Boycott’s family issues health update as England legend undergoes cancer surgery

Liz Colfer says pension taxation misses the mark.

Why pension taxation proposals miss the mark

It follows a sharp rise in the number of abusive messages sent via the bank's app.

Santander bans swear words when sending money after abusers use 1p bank transfers to bypass restraining orders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader