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'Where is Priti Patel?': David Lammy demands answers as 8,000 tourists enter UK daily
5 April 2021, 12:24 | Updated: 5 April 2021, 12:27
David Lammy was left "staggered" after Border Force staff revealed thousands of tourists are "breezing into Britain" every day, despite the Government restricting travel for the public.
Thousands of tourists are being let in to the country every day, despite the Government tightening restrictions on British people going abroad.
Of the 20,000 people arriving every day, around 8,000 are tourists, with hundreds arriving on tourist visas issued by the Home Office, according to Border Force staff.
One visa was granted to a tourist from Peru who said on their application form that the reason for their trip to the UK was to “visit Big Ben”.
"What is going on? Where is the strategy?" David asked.
"I'm not one for 'let's close the borders', but you can't have a situation where later on today Boris Johnson is announcing a red amber green system for those of us who are thinking about a summer holiday - and then we find the whole world and her aunt can breeze into Britain."
David said, "Where are the hotel quarantines for people?
"Where is Priti Patel, by the way? She's so good at hiding from the media and not explaining this system."
Immigration Services Union's Lucy Morton told David that Border Force staff have "absolutely" no powers to prevent tourists from entering the UK.
"As long as they qualify for entry under the immigration laws, the Border Force must grant entry," she said, "the Covid rules aren't tied into the immigration rules.
"Just because you're coming with the intention of breaking the Covid secure provisions or that's going to be an accident as part of what it is you do, all Border Force staff can do is issue a notice of intention to fine.
"They don't even fine the travellers themselves, they just issue an intention to fine."
Ms Morton said her union have asked "repeatedly" how often these fines are upheld and paid "and the Home Office don't know."
David reflected that it was "staggering", to which Ms Morton agreed that the situation has left many of the staff "in distress."