4 June 2021, 08:47
Nick Ferrari confronted minister Robert Jenrick over Portugal being amber listed “within hours” – despite the Transport Secretary confirming in April that a green watch list would be created to give people warning.
Holidaymakers in Portugal face a scramble back to the UK, with thousands more cancelling trips due to the new quarantine rules which come into force at 4am on Tuesday.
When the country moves onto the amber list, people will have to quarantine at home for ten days after visiting, and pay for and take two Covid tests, on days two and eight.
Adding significant costs, a British family of four in Portugal, for example, would now face having to pay £1,000 to buy the various PCR tests at £125 each.
Nick played a clip of Grant Shapps confirming on LBC that a ‘green watch list’ would be created: “We’re going to have a green watch list this year. Now that means that we’ll be letting people know where we have a country that may be coming on to the horizon as a concern but remain in the green list for the moment.
“That’ll help provide people with a bit of forward guidance and I hope to avoid some of the scenes we saw last year where suddenly the country moves.”
Nick said, “You’ve failed to put Portugal on the green watch list and you’ve failed to give them that warning, didn’t you? Why?”
Mr Jenrick responded, “We have given people notice so they can return before Tuesday.”
Nick repeated his question of the watch list which Mr Shapps “specifically spelt out so we wouldn’t have the same situation as last year”, with people having to suddenly make last minute holiday changes.
Mr Jenrick branded the accusation the Government failed as unfair: “The situation is developing quickly around the world, this is a fast moving position with the virus.”
Nick, pointing out it was the fourth time he’d asked, said, “You can’t have one of your senior colleagues promise a watch list so people feel a degree of comfort going to Portugal, or wherever else it might be, and then as and when a fast moving situation alters, you give no warning whatsoever. You can’t justify that, it’s a shambles, Mr Jenrick.”
“In this case, there wasn’t time,” the Housing Secretary told Nick.
Nick asked, “Just so we’re plain, there will be no watch list this year?”
“The watch list remains an option,” Mr Jenrick said, “if the situation is developing fast, it’s right we take action as quickly as we can. It’s right to be decisive.”
LBC understands the green watch list does exist but there aren’t any countries currently on it.