Clive Bull 1am - 4am
Nick Ferrari asks Brandon Lewis why government are persisting with quarantine plan
4 June 2020, 08:30
Nick Ferrari asked the Northern Ireland Secretary why the government is only now bringing in the quarantine rules for international travellers, telling him: "This should have been done weeks ago."
Anyone coming into the UK from abroad will have to quarantine for 14 days from Monday to slow the spread of coronavirus.
But Nick asked why the plan was announced on 23rd May, but is only being launched next week - at a time when most countries are easing their border controls.
He said: "There's growing opposition to this quarantine plan that is coming in on Monday. Even Theresa May, who is anything but a rebel, is also against it, as are scientists.
"Why are the government persisting with this?"
Brandon Lewis responded: "The scientific advice is clear. Coronavirus is entering the UK. As our level of the spread of the infection within our communities is now falling, this is the right time to bring in a measure like this.
"But we will keep this under review."
Nick told him: "To paraphrase Eric Morcambe, it's all the right things at the wrong time, isn't it?
"This should have been done weeks ago. It was talked about in late May. Why wasn't it brought in the next day?"
Mr Lewis insisted: "The reason I would argue this is the right time to bring this in is that this has the most effect when our spread of the virus within our communities is falling and at a lower rate.
"When we had that higher rate of spread, we were trying to focus on what we were doing on the community spread within the UK because the impact of people coming into the UK, as Patrick Vallance said, has a negligible impact at that time."
Nick pointed out the exclusions to the quarantine - post office workers, oil workers, air crew, seamen, road hauilers, coach drivers - means the rules aren't in the least bit effective.
Watch the interview at the top of the page.