Nick Ferrari pushes Nadhim Zahawi over 'unfair' travel restrictions as thousands enter UK

6 April 2021, 09:06 | Updated: 6 April 2021, 15:20

By Fiona Jones

Nick Ferrari scrutinises Nadhim Zahawi over Covid travel restrictions as Border Force reveal thousands of tourists enter the UK each day while Brits are fined for going on holiday.

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”.

When asked by Nick why the borders are still open during the pandemic, vaccines minister told LBC: "If people come here they have to have a pre-departure test, they've got to have two more tests when they're in this country, they've got to quarantine if they're British residents coming from the red list countries.

"We've got one of the most stringent border controls related to the virus."

Nick questioned: "How did someone get in to see Big Ben if it's that stringent, Minister?"

Read more: 'Traffic light' system for holidays abroad unveiled - but 'don't book this summer'

Mr Zahawi responded that enforcement has been "pretty good" but "people sometimes do slip through", adding that the "stringent" border system is reviewed and updated "all the time."

"Last week your Government brought in a £5,000 fine if I arrive at the airport with the intention of going on holiday...meanwhile other people can come into this country to see the tourist hotpots?" Nick asked, commenting that "it doesn't seem fair."

Mr Zahawi repeated that inbound travellers have a pre-departure test and fill in a passenger locator form and if someone has gone through that system incorrectly "we'll look at that."

"Ultimately we want to open up air travel as quickly as possible without allowing the virus to resurge in the way we're seeing, sadly, in Europe.

"This isn't a contest to lock down as hard as possible...it's just to make sure that we control the virus while we vaccinate at scale and then open up according to the roadmap as quickly as we can."

Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that lockdown measures in England will be relaxed as planned from 12 April.

Speaking at the government's Covid-19 press briefing from Downing Street, the prime minister said he would be visiting a pub on that date as he confirmed the next stage of lockdown easing can go ahead.

Read more: Dates revealed for Britain's first 'vaccine passport' events

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