James O'Brien caller's Brexit theory on why UK has not shut borders during Covid

6 January 2021, 13:51

By Fiona Jones

This caller gives James O'Brien his theory as to why the UK has not shut its borders during the global pandemic - and it involves Brexit.

The Government has announced that mandatory Covid tests for UK-bound travellers are set to be introduced, and passengers affected by the new rule will need to show a negative test certificate before entry.

Reflecting on this, James asked why this measure is being enforced yet the UK's borders are still open - and without any obligatory quarantining - almost a year after the pandemic hit the country.

Caller Ben said that he "does not know" why the PM has not closed the borders in 2021, but posited why this did not happen in 2020.

"Last year, it would have demonstrated that we could close its borders whilst being a member of the EU."

James was surprised: "You think the political calculation was we can't close our borders because that would prove we could close our borders? And we've only really come to power by pretending we can't control our borders?"

James said he did not buy it because Ben was "falling into the trap" he had in the last few years of "rationalising Brexit campaigning and Brexit rhetoric."

"You could literally close our borders, literally build a wall, and still have your hardcore Brexit campaigners insisting that we haven't," James said, "we reached a point some time ago where they would encourage you to ignore the evidence of your own eyes and ears.

"And it's a bit different to controlling a border or shutting down a border because of a pandemic and having freedom of movement of labour."

Caller Ben said while he does know if the theory is valid, it's "the first thing that came to his mind" when James asked listeners the question.