Friday 29 January 2021 / 10:17 AM Coronavirus / Nick Thomas-Symonds

Labour announces it will force a vote to secure our borders and prevent vaccine being undermined

Labour will hold a vote during its Opposition Day Debate on Monday to force the Government to take action on securing our borders, by introducing a comprehensive hotel quarantine plan to protect against the risk of new vaccine resistant variants of Covid-19 being imported into the country.

The motion would seek to extend the hotel quarantine plans laid out by the Government, beyond the limited “red list” of 30 countries and instead cover all travellers entering the UK.

Labour will accuse the Government’s plans of being “too little, too late” and say that “limiting restrictions to just a handful of countries puts at risk the gains being made by the vaccine, by exposing us to potentially resistant Covid-19 strains, undermining the huge sacrifices of the British people.”

Labour will make clear that the quarantine restrictions for general travellers are “woefully inadequate” with just three in every 100 people who are quarantining being successfully contacted by the Isolation Assurance Service to check for quarantine compliance. Statistics show around 21,000 travellers are still entering the country daily, risking bringing new vaccine resistant strains with them. The fact that strains identified in South African and Brazil have now reached the UK, show current protections are ineffective.

Labour is supporting the vaccination rollout through the “Let’s Vaccinate Britain” campaign and celebrates the progress being made to vaccinate people. However, this work risks being undermined through “gaping holes” as a result of ineffective border controls.

Labour is clear that a comprehensive hotel quarantine plan is needed, but additionally outlines that certain exemptions will be required, including hauliers to ensure that vital supplies can reach the country.

Labour’s motion will include:

  • Introduce a comprehensive hotel quarantine system for all arrivals into the UK, securing against the import of new strains and to maximise the effectiveness of the country’s vaccination programme.
  • Calls on the Government to publish to Parliament the scientific evidence on which it has based its limited quarantine regime on.
  • Announce a sector support package for aviation which is focused on employment and environmental improvements.

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:

“Yet again on border security Government action is too little, too late. Limiting restrictions to just a handful of countries puts at risk the gains being made by the vaccine, by exposing us to potentially resistant Covid-19 strains, undermining the huge sacrifices of the British people.

“Labour is calling on the Government to introduce a comprehensive hotel quarantine system for all travellers, in order to shut down the gaping holes in the Government’s plans. The plans have no clear basis in science and fail to recognise that we do not know where the next strains of the virus will emerge from, until it is too late.

“The fact that Britain has already imported strains of the virus identified in South Africa and Brazil, shows that the quarantine systems in place are woefully inadequate, little wonder when just three in 100 people who are supposed to be quarantining are successfully contacted.”