James O'Brien's reaction to 10 year jail threat for travel rule breakers

10 February 2021, 11:24

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien predicted that the 10 year maximum sentence for lying about travelling from 'red list' countries during the Covid pandemic will never be enforced.

People trying to avoid hotel quarantining by lying about the country they have visited will serve up to ten years in prison, the Health Secretary has announced.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, he revealed that people who have to stay in quarantine hotels will also be charged £1,750 for their stay.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the measure on LBC, telling Nick Ferrari the public should not only avoid travel to the 33 'red list' countries, bur also around the UK.

Read more: Quarantine hotels: Tory MPs slam £10k fine and jail threat for hiding 'red list' visits

James told listeners he was "confused" about the measures because the UK should be considered an 'at risk' country too as the South African variant has been identified here also.

"10 years!...I'm slightly haunted by that teenager who isn't going to be incarcerated for a single second after being convicted of terrorism and running a neo-Nazi cell from his grandmother's cottage in Cornwall," James said, "You lie about your journey back into your home country from overseas and you face ten years in prison."

James predicts that the sentence will not actually affect anybody, apart from, potentially "a terribly egregious example."

"It's either been done for the headlines, in which case it's worked a treat, it's been done as a deterrent, in which case the jury is still out, or it's been done as a bit of both."

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