Boris orders Tory MPs to ABSTAIN in Labour vote on border rules

Boris orders Tory MPs to ABSTAIN in Labour vote demanding even tougher border crackdown to stop mutant Covid strains

  • Labour wants the Government to introduce hotel quarantine for all UK arrivals
  • Currently the policy only applies to people arriving in UK from ‘red list’ countries 
  • Labour will try to force vote on the issue but Boris Johnson told Tories to abstain 

Boris Johnson has ordered Tory MPs to abstain on a crunch vote tonight as Labour demands the Government strengthen its coronavirus border rules.

Ministers are setting up a hotel quarantine system for people arriving in the UK from approximately 30 ‘red list’ countries with high case numbers or where mutant strains have been discovered. 

But Sir Keir Starmer is pushing for the 10-day compulsory stay in Government-approved accommodation to be extended to apply to all UK arrivals. 

The Government is setting up quarantine hotels for travellers arriving in the UK from ‘red list’ countries. They will have to pay to self-isolate for 10 days

Sir Keir Starmer will try to force a vote in the Commons this evening to demand the Government apply hotel quarantine to all UK arrivals

Labour claimed the current border approach is leaving the UK ‘exposed’ to importing dangerous variants of Covid-19 which could put the vaccine roll-out in jeopardy.    

Many Tory MPs privately agree that the hotel quarantine policy should apply to all arrivals. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel is said to have advocated a stricter approach but was apparently overruled by the PM who announced the latest measures last week.  

Mr Johnson has reportedly told his MPs to abstain on this evening’s symbolic vote which is non-binding on the Government as he tries to avoid a Conservative rebellion.  

Labour’s opposition day debate motion calls for ministers to ‘immediately introduce a comprehensive hotel quarantine system for all arrivals into the UK, thereby securing the country against the import of new strains and maximising the effectiveness of the country’s vaccination programme’. 

A Labour source told The Times: ‘People are absolutely incredulous as to how the country is closed yet our borders are open. 

‘It doesn’t make any sense. The Home Secretary can’t credibly talk tough on borders and then leave us exposed to mutations.’    

Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, said: ‘Labour is giving every Conservative MP the chance to vote to end this mess and protect Britain against COVID-19 mutations. 

‘By testing and quarantining all arrivals, not just a few, we can help to protect vaccines against new strains. More dither and delay is unacceptable. The British people demand we protect our borders – we must act now.’

One Tory MP told The Times that the Government must adopt the same approach as New Zealand and Australia and introduce hotel quarantine for all arrivals.   

They said: ‘The government is dragging its feet. We’re lucky our border starts at the white cliffs, they’ve protected Britain and the past and could protect us now. We need to learn from Australia and New Zealand and close our borders.’ 

Boris Johnson is under pressure from Tory MPs to extend the hotel quarantine policy amid fears it is not tough enough

A Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘Labour have spent the entire pandemic flip flopping on border control, they wanted it introduced, and then they wanted it lessened. Keir Starmer himself attacked quarantine calling it a “blunt instrument”.

‘Throughout the pandemic we have taken firm action to protect our border and save lives.’ 

The ‘red list’ of banned countries covers all of South America, southern Africa and Portugal. 

The cost of staying in a quarantine hotel has not yet been disclosed but the traveller will be expected to pay.

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