Nick Ferrari ruthlessly challenges Hancock over 'disproportionate' 10 year jail threat

11 February 2021, 09:14

By Fiona Jones

Watch as Nick Ferrari ruthlessly challenges Health Secretary Matt Hancock over the 10 year jail threat for breaking Covid travel rules.

The Health Secretary announced on Tuesday that those who try to avoid quarantine by lying about visiting a 'red list' country could face up to ten years in prison.

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

Nick said: "You've introduced a law whereby a perfectly healthy individual could be incarcerated for ten years for wrongly misleading about the fact he or she had been to Portugal...what is your legal background on that?

"I understood you're an economist I didn't know you had a background in law."

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

Mr Hancock said that he takes advice from the Ministry of Justice and confirmed that Justice Secretary Robert Buckland supports the sentence.

Nick countered: "Yet others in his post...Kenneth Clarke says we need to keep a sense of proportion, David Liddington questions whether it's proportionate, David Gauke sees it as disproportionate, Jack Straw says it is disproportionate. Those four Justice Secretaries - you know more than all of those?"

"I think it is incredibly important that we protect our borders in order to keep people safe and given all the progress that we're making, we've got to protect that progress," the Health Secretary said, adding he makes "no apologies for it."

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Nick replied that he is not asking for an apology, just a legal justification behind the maximum sentence length: "It's the same stretch as if I was carrying a firearm and it's longer than if I attempt to have sex with a 13 year old girl.

"What makes you think that's the right stretch?"

Mr Hancock replied he thought it was "right" people declare about where they travel, to which Nick agreed, and the strong measures have been brought in as coronavirus is "so hard to deal with."

His approach is to protect the progress of the vaccine, he told LBC.

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