Priti Patel wants new powers to curb illegal migrants sneaking into UK and calls for law change

Priti Patel has launched a major push for controversial new powers designed to tackle the Channel migrant crisis, the Daily Mail can reveal.

The Home Secretary has told Border Force chiefs to examine whether they have the legal authority to turn migrant boats around in the Channel – and send them back to France.

If this proves impossible under current law, she is said to be drawing up plans for specific new legislation allowing UK patrol boats to turn back the vessels.

A major tightening of asylum law is also on the drawing board, which will force claimants to lodge all their arguments at the beginning of a case.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) has told Border Force chiefs to examine whether they have the legal authority to turn migrant boats around in the Channel – and send them back to France

This would stop them making a series of claims in the courts under different parts of human rights laws to delay their deportation. Both measures are likely to be highly contentious.

The UK Border Force is already looking at what powers it has to ‘turn people around in the Channel without any legislative changes’, a source said. At present, the border patrol cutters are only allowed to intervene when they see a migrant vessel in danger.

If new laws are required to turn back vessels at sea, the way it will work will inevitably be tied into the UK’s final Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

On the planned asylum reforms, a source added: ‘The Government wants to get into the position where asylum claimants cannot continually change their story and keep appealing. This is very detrimental for genuine asylum seekers who need the help of this country.

A major tightening of asylum law is also on the drawing board, which will force claimants to lodge all their arguments at the beginning of a case. Pictured: A border force vessel approaches a small boat carrying 25 migrants in the English Channel

A major tightening of asylum law is also on the drawing board, which will force claimants to lodge all their arguments at the beginning of a case. Pictured: A border force vessel approaches a small boat carrying 25 migrants in the English Channel

‘The current legislation does not work. It’s not fit for purpose.’

Ministers are understood to believe they will win public support for plans which require all reasons for an asylum claim to be made at the beginning of a case.

The maritime measures being pursued by the Home Office are thought to be conditional on securing the support of the French. Mrs Patel has already raised the issue with her Paris counterpart Christophe Castaner.

The Home Office is also understood to be looking at simplifying and streamlining the schemes which govern how asylum seekers are housed across the country.

Currently, some of the schemes involve local authorities volunteering to accept asylum seekers – such as the project for unaccompanied children who have claimed refugee status. Kent County Council leader Roger Gough has called for that scheme to be made compulsory after the number of lone children being cared for by his organisation soared.

French Naval boat seen escorting migrants into British waters unchallenged as figures show 1,600 migrants have crossed the English Channel so far this year

This is the moment a French naval boat escorted migrants into British waters unchallenged.

The Mail witnessed the dawn operation yesterday from a fishing boat 12 miles from Dover on the French-British sea border.

Once the French vessel escorted the 13 migrants to British waters just before 6.30am, Border Force and RNLI boats picked them up and took them to Dover for processing.

Nine men, three woman and a minor were crammed onto the rigid inflatable boat, which came close to sinking.

A border force vessel approaches a small boat carrying 25 migrants in the English Channel as it is handed over by the French authorities to the English Border Force

A border force vessel approaches a small boat carrying 25 migrants in the English Channel as it is handed over by the French authorities to the English Border Force

Once in British waters, one man posed for a selfie with the white cliffs of Dover in the background. Several were carrying phones, as migrants often dial 999 once in UK waters.

The boat was powered by a 25hp Yamaha motor. Insiders said boats being offered by smugglers were becoming more powerful and less ramshackle, although they vary based on the fees of between 1,000 euros (£890) and 3,000 euros (£2,670) per person.

About 65 migrants arrived on six vessels by 10am yesterday after mainly setting off from Gravelines, 16 miles east of Calais. One boat was carrying up to 29 people, while one man even arrived by kayak.

The people smugglers are thought to be exploiting that fact that French boats are mainly patrolling between Boulogne and Calais, opening up the route from Gravelines. With fewer ships crossing due to the slowdown caused by Covid-19, the route is also less tricky to navigate.

It comes amid a surge in crossings, with more than 1,600 migrants reaching the UK already this year. Only about 6 per cent have been returned to France.

Last year, 1,890 made it across.



Government must reactivate scheme to disperse child migrants across UK

Government must reactivate scheme to disperse child migrants across UK, warns Kent County Council leader – as 178 unaccompanied youngsters land at Dover so far this year

  • Council is now the ‘sole carer’ of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into UK
  • Priti Patel has been urged to reactivate the National Transfer Scheme (NTS)
  • It rehoused children to the care of other councils  

The Government must revive a programme to disperse migrant children throughout the UK, the leader of Kent County Council warned last night.

Conservative councillor Roger Gough said the local authority was now the ‘sole carer’ of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into Britain on dinghies and rafts.

Mr Gough has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel urging her to ‘reactivate’ the National Transfer Scheme (NTS), which previously rehoused children to the care of other councils.

The Government must revive a programme to disperse migrant children throughout the UK, the leader of Kent County Council warned last night

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Gough said the number of children arriving on Kent’s shores had doubled over the past 12 months. So far this year, 178 unaccompanied children have landed at Dover and were placed in the care of the council.

Mr Gough said: ‘What we are seeing is arrivals on a scale which we in Kent certainly cannot cope with.

‘We are in the process of having to double up, getting two people to share a room. In Covid-19 times, it is absolutely not what we want to be doing.’

While adults and families arriving in Dover can automatically be dispersed to other parts of the country, unaccompanied children are usually cared for at their point of arrival.

The Home Office launched the NTS in 2016 but Mr Gough says the scheme has ‘dried up’. Last night, the Home Office insisted that NTS was still ongoing, but needed ‘invigorating’.

Conservative councillor Roger Gough said the local authority was now the 'sole carer' of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into Britain on dinghies and rafts

Conservative councillor Roger Gough said the local authority was now the ‘sole carer’ of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into Britain on dinghies and rafts



A mandatory 14-day quarantine for arrivals is bonkers, say DAVID DAVIS and DAVID BLUNKETT 

When two politicians who, for years, have clashed over policies now find themselves on the same side of the argument about a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, it must be time to reflect whether the Government has got it wrong.

The Home Secretary‘s policy is a devastating blow for anyone hoping to holiday abroad this summer, for the airline industry and for British international businesses.

Above all it sends a signal to the rest of the world, whether in terms of international investment or the lucrative and essential higher education and research sector, that Britain is closed for business.

Priti Patel argued that it was right to introduce the measures from June 8 rather than at the beginning of the lockdown because this would be when ‘it will be the most effective’.

David Blunkett

When two politicians who, for years, have clashed over policies now find themselves on the same side of the argument about a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, it must be time to reflect whether the Government has got it wrong, write former Conservative Brexit Secretary DAVID DAVIS and former Labour Home Secretary DAVID BLUNKETT 

This does not make sense. If ever there was a right time for travel restrictions, it was at the beginning of the pandemic when it could have flattened the curve.

In February, the World Health Organisation gave guidance on the effectiveness of travel restrictions. 

It said such measures ‘may only be justified at the beginning of an outbreak, as they may allow countries to gain time, even if only a few days, to rapidly implement effective preparedness measures’.

But the UK decided not to go down that path, unlike countries such as Australia and South Korea, and Hong Kong, which banned travel from the Hubei province in China and then imposed restrictions on inbound travellers from all countries as well as a strict 14-day quarantine on anyone entering their country.

Not only is the timing of the Government’s announcement odd, but the effectiveness of the strategy is questionable.

Greece has said international flights to tourist destinations will start to resume gradually from July 1. 

The Home Secretary's policy is a devastating blow for anyone hoping to holiday abroad this summer, for the airline industry and for British international businesses

The Home Secretary’s policy is a devastating blow for anyone hoping to holiday abroad this summer, for the airline industry and for British international businesses

But not many British tourists will fly to Greece if they have to undergo two weeks’ quarantine after they come home.

This will be particularly true for those who’ve scrimped to pay for what is certainly not the kind of ‘big, lavish international holiday’ referred to by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Also, who’ll pay any cancellation fees? It won’t be the Greek hotel or the airline – as it’s not their fault.

Will the Government pay? After all, it is their fault. We doubt it.

Here’s betting it will be families who have to scrap their holiday.

What’s more, comparative infection rates also prove the nonsense of this policy.

In our part of the world, Yorkshire and the Humber, there have been 13,598 cases of the virus. 

The whole of Greece, with a population of around 10.7 million, has seen only 2,853.

In our part of the world, Yorkshire and the Humber, there have been 13,598 cases of the virus

In our part of the world, Yorkshire and the Humber, there have been 13,598 cases of the virus

In other words, in Yorkshire and the Humber, for every million people, 2,482 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus. 

In Greece, it’s just 266 per million. Other countries have been more successful than Britain at containing the virus. 

For example, infection rates in Cyprus, Malta and Latvia are persistently lower.

This means that someone travelling by train from Leeds or Doncaster to London with no restrictions or checks is 4.7 times more likely to have the virus than a holidaymaker returning to Heathrow from Greece.

Then there is the case of Scotland. Anyone crossing the border from Scotland to England will not be quarantined. 

The whole of Greece, with a population of around 10.7 million, has seen only 2,853

The whole of Greece, with a population of around 10.7 million, has seen only 2,853

This, too, makes a nonsense of any scientific justification for restricting travel from areas with much lower infection rates.

The sensible route is to allow holidaymakers to travel to and from countries that have lower rates of infection and, if necessary, only quarantine travellers from countries with higher rates of infection.

Of course, as we attempt to get back to some kind of normality, every policy must strike a careful balance between the public health need and the economic and social impacts.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc across our economy, especially in the airline and tourism sectors. Ryanair and British Airways alone have cut 15,000 jobs.

The new blanket quarantine policy only serves to draw out the damaging effects of the virus on these sectors and puts further jobs at risk.

The Transport Secretary has floated the idea of ‘air-bridges’ whereby travellers would be free to move between the UK and countries with low levels of infection. 

Downing Street and the Foreign Office quickly branded the idea as ‘unworkable’.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has floated the idea of 'air-bridges' whereby travellers would be free to move between the UK and countries with low levels of infection

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has floated the idea of ‘air-bridges’ whereby travellers would be free to move between the UK and countries with low levels of infection

But it is possible to manage people returning from abroad. We can learn from countries such as Austria, which has introduced a system at Vienna airport, whereby visitors or returning citizens can go for a spot-test and, providing they get the all-clear, can avoid a 14-day quarantine period.

Other countries are introducing extensive temperature screening at airports.

Taken together, these measures could help identify passengers with the virus and allow them to be treated and isolated as and when necessary.

Greece is open to agreeing an air-bridges deal with the UK, with Greek tourism minister Haris Theocharis saying they would drop the requirement of quarantine for UK visitors if we did not impose the requirement on Greeks coming here.

Allowing free travel to and from countries with a low infection rate seems an entirely sensible plan. It would help protect tourism jobs and slowly bring back a sense of normality.

That is why the Government must think again.



Travel firms are ALREADY planning to exploit Dublin loophole in 14-day quarantine

Travel firms are already looking to exploit a ‘Dublin dodge’ loophole in Britain’s new quarantine rules that allows those arriving from Ireland to avoid having to isolate at home.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced plans for a tough new quarantine regime requiring almost all arrivals into the UK to immediately self-isolate for 14 days as of June 8.

The move, unveiled on Friday, received widespread backlash both at home and abroad, with France threatening to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders.

The travel industry also lambasted the rules, labelling them as ‘ineffective and unenforceable’ given that those travelling to the UK from Ireland were exempt from the rules.

It means flyers can first travel into Dublin and then either jet into the UK or get a bus across the border with Northern Ireland, avoiding the self-isolating rules.

Mike Woolridge, founder of Flyaway Weekends, predicted that travel firms would be quick to cash in on the loophole.

Travel firms are already looking to exploit a ‘Dublin dodge’ loophole in Britain’s new quarantine rules that allows those arriving from Ireland to avoid having to isolate at home

He said: ‘We can see a real demand for short-notice travel once restrictions are slackened, and are already looking at offers that divert via Dublin so we’re ready to help plan weekend breaks as demand starts to return.’

Travellers coming into the UK from Ireland are exempt from the restrictions due to it being a member of the Common Travel Area, along with the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s own coronavirus rules stipulate that travellers do not need to quarantine if they are getting an immediate connecting flight or bus into the UK.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘Anyone travelling from Ireland will be exempt.

‘However, given the high levels of compliance we have seen to date, we expect that the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures.’

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad.

But she also revealed a list of 39 categories of people who would be exempt from the rules, including healthcare workers and pilots.

She said that ‘air bridges’ could be agreed with certain countries with a similar or lower Covid-19 infection rate, meaning citizens could travel between each nation without the imposing of self-isolation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has received widespread backlash both at home and abroad after unveiling the new quarantine measures on Friday

Home Secretary Priti Patel has received widespread backlash both at home and abroad after unveiling the new quarantine measures on Friday

However no such agreements had been finalized as of Friday’s announcement, while preliminary talks between the UK and France about a quarantine-free corridor with no checks abandoned two weeks ago.

Currently, Britons can only fly to France on ‘essential’ business, a position it said earlier this week would be reviewed on June 15. 

Responding to the UK’s announcement last night, a spokesman for France’s Interior Minister said: ‘We take note of the British government’s decision and we regret it.

‘France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side.’  

Who is exempt from the government’s mandatory 

Here is the list of people exempt from the 14-day self-isolation requirement.

– A road haulage worker and road passenger transport worker

– A transit passenger, an individual transiting to a country outside of the Common Travel Area, who remains airside and does not pass border control

– An individual arriving to attend pre-arranged treatment, when receiving that treatment in the UK

– A registered health or care professional travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus

– A person who has travelled to the UK for the purpose of transporting, to a healthcare provider in the UK, material which consists of, or includes, human cells or blood which are to be used for the purpose of providing healthcare

– Quality assurance inspectors for human medicines

– Sponsors and essential persons needed for clinical trials or studies

– Civil aviation inspectors engaged on inspection duties

– Eurotunnel train drivers and crew, Eurotunnel Shuttle drivers, freight train drivers, crew and essential cross-border rail freight workers operating through the Channel Tunnel

– A Euratom inspector

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works, related to water supplies and sewerage services

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works related to a generating system, an electricity interconnector, a district heat network, communal heating, automated ballast cleaning and track re-laying systems or network

– A worker undertaking activities in offshore installations, upstream petroleum infrastructure, critical safety work on offshore installations and wells

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works

– Drivers and crew of trains operated by Eurostar International Limited, essential cross-border workers working for Eurostar International Limited

– Operational, rail maintenance, security and safety workers working on the Channel Tunnel system

– A worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services  

– Seamen and masters

– A pilot, as defined in paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 3A to the Merchant Shipping Act

– An inspector, and surveyor of ships

– Crew, as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 2016(h), where such crew have travelled to the UK in the course of their work

– Nuclear personnel who are essential to the safe and secure operations of a licensed nuclear site

– Nuclear emergency responder

– Agency inspector

– An inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a specialist aerospace engineer, or a specialist aerospace worker

– A person engaged in operational, maintenance or safety activities of a downstream oil facility that has a capacity in excess of 20,000 tonnes

– A postal worker involved in the transport of mail into and out of the UK

– A person involved in essential maintenance and repair of data infrastructure

– An information technology or telecommunications professional whose expertise is required to provide an essential or emergency response to threats and incidents relating to security

– A person who is engaged in urgent or essential work on electronic communications networks

– A person who is engaged in urgent or essential work for the BBC’s broadcasting transmission network and services

– A seasonal agricultural worker 

– Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the United Kingdom

– Crown servants or government contractors returning to the United Kingdom who are either: required to undertake policing or essential government work in the United Kingdom within 14 days of their arrival, have been undertaking policing or essential government work outside of the United Kingdom but are required to return temporarily, after which they will depart to conduct policing or essential government work outside the United Kingdom

– International prison escorts – a person designated by the relevant Minister under section 5(3) of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984(a)

– A person responsible for escorting a person sought for extradition pursuant to a warrant issued under Part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003 or sought for extradition pursuant to any other extradition arrangements

– Defence personnel and contractors doing work necessary for the delivery of essential Defence activities, including Visiting Forces and NATO

– An official required to work on essential border security duties

– A person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week 

Raffaele Trombetta, the Italian ambassador to the UK, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that no discussions had yet taken place between the two countries.

He said: ‘There is always a large number of British tourists coming to Italy, it’s one of Britain’s preferred destinations.  

‘We had 40 million trips from the UK to Italy last year. We know how much they love Italy. We are still open, welcoming them. 

‘We believe that this is pandemic is a global problem so the best thing to do is to tackle it with a coordinated approach.’

Mr Trombetta pointed to Italy’s own plans to lift quarantine rules for those travelling from the UK and the EU as of June 3.

He said: ‘We have made it clear what we are going to do and it’s important for British people to know that they can come to Italy. 

‘We understand that the UK’s new rules will be reassessed after three weeks so hopefully there will be an easing of the measures as we are doing in Italy.’

Several exemptions to the new rules were announced last night, including those living in Ireland, healthcare workers pilots.

However Ms Patel’s plans were also panned by the travel industry, which pointed out that those arriving in the UK will be allowed to use public transport to reach their address, possibly infecting others.

They also said that people could get around the rules by first flying into Ireland, which is exempt from the quarantine rules, before then travelling into Britain. 

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, was among the first to hit out at the new guidelines, which Ms Patel has already admitted would be under constant review. 

In a statement, it described the regime as ‘unenforceable’ and said it was ‘strongly opposed to ineffective non-scientific measures’. 

A spokesman added: ‘This isolation measure simply does not work unless passengers arriving in international UK airports are detained in airport terminals or hotels for the 14-day period.

‘Once these arriving passengers have travelled on the crowded London Underground, or the Heathrow and Gatwick Express, or buses or taxis to their destination, the subsequent quarantine is pointless.

‘If this measure had any basis in science, then the Irish visitors would not and could not be exempt.’

British ministers are said to be examining the idea of ‘Covid passports’ that could allow those who have had the disease to travel more widely without the need to undergo quarantine on their return to the UK.

The plans to get tourism moving are being promoted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is said to have the backing of both Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad at ports and airports.

Under the plans, travellers arriving at all ports and airports will be ordered to go into self-isolation for a fortnight and to provide an address and contact details. 

They will not be allowed to accept visitors, unless they are providing essential support, and should not go out to buy food or other essentials ‘where they can rely on others’, the Home Office said. 

There is a small number of exemptions for truck drivers and some other critical roles while transit passengers who do not formally enter the UK will also be exempt.     

Public health officials are expected to conduct approximately 100 spot checks every day to ensure people are sticking to self-isolation. Those checks will start from the middle of June. 

People who arrive in the UK without accommodation arranged will have to pay for Government-arranged accommodation themselves. 

Despite Ms Patel insisting the policy will be reviewed every three weeks, Whitehall sources have played down hopes that the measures could be lifted before the summer holiday season.   

Virgin Atlantic warned the plan would keep planes grounded. 

‘The safety and security of our people and our customers is always our top priority and public health must come first,’ a spokeswoman said. 

‘However, by introducing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the Government’s approach will prevent flights from resuming. 

‘We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.’

The airline instead called on the Government to introduce a ‘multi-layered approach’ with targeted public health and screening measures to allow the safe restart of international travel. 

The chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, had earlier told the Home Affairs Select Committee that drastic reductions in passenger numbers ‘may simply lead to a prolonged shutdown of all aviation’.

A spokesperson for the Association of Independent Tour Operators told The Daily Telegraph: ‘As with so many Government ‘initiatives’, the 14-day quarantine rule comes across as a bit of a stab in the dark, quite possibly to be changed as quickly as it was introduced, as with the mooted air bridges.

‘In reality, quarantine should have been put in place right at the start of the pandemic, as our European neighbours did – we are now out of synch with them, as they emerge from quarantine and we go into it.’  

Piers Morgan lead calls for transparency about why coronavirus carriers were able to fly into the UK in the first place.

He wrote: ‘Of all the inexplicable decisions this Govt has made during the coronavirus crisis, quarantining people who fly into the UK after 20 million people have already flown in and 62,000 people have already died is the most… inexplicable.’

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it 'regretted' the decision and would look to impose a 'reciprocal measure' on Brits arriving at its borders

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it ‘regretted’ the decision and would look to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders

Nigel Farage tweeted: ‘The government quarantine should have been three months ago, not now. Far too late.’ 

Ms Patel insisted the Government does ‘recognise how hard these changes will be for our travel sector’ and that ministers will work with the industry to find ‘new ways to reopen international travel and tourism in a safe and responsible way’. 

A former head of Border Force said today he was ‘surprised’ quarantine measures had not been brought in at UK borders sooner.

Tony Smith, now chairman of the International Border Management and Technologies Association, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee today: ‘Yes I was surprised that we hadn’t seen earlier measures introduced at the UK border.’ 

Mr Shapps on Monday raised the idea of ‘air bridges’ with popular tourist destinations such as Spain. 

Madrid yesterday signalled it might be prepared to welcome UK tourists from July without asking them to self-isolate for 14 days.  

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘We need to find a way that the vast, vast, vast majority of people who don’t have a disease can still fly.’

European fury at Britain’s chaotic quarantine rules: French hit back with their own isolation rules for Brits after their exemption was rejected and UK reveals full list of 39 categories of people who WILL be let in

European leaders have reacted with fury after Britain revealed its plans for a tough new quarantine regime requiring arrivals into the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has received widespread backlash both at home and abroad after unveiling the measures, which have been dubbed ‘ineffective and unenforceable’ by the travel industry.

Ms Patel’s announced yesterday that anyone arriving into the UK from June 8 would be legally required to self-isolate for two weeks or face fines of up to £3,200. 

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it ‘regretted’ the decision and would look to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders.

Meanwhile Italy, which at one point was the epicentre of Europe’s coronavirus crisis, said it hoped Britain would rethink its rules and called for a ‘coordinated approach’.

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad.

But she also revealed a list of 39 categories of people who would be exempt from the rules, including healthcare workers, pilots and those coming over from Ireland.

Pictured: Passengers wearing PPE queue up to board a China-bound flight at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport on Friday

Pictured: Passengers wearing PPE queue up to board a China-bound flight at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport on Friday

She said that ‘air bridges’ could be agreed with certain countries with a similar or lower Covid-19 infection rate, meaning citizens could travel between each nation without the imposing of self-isolation.

However no such agreements had been finalized as of Friday’s announcement, while preliminary talks between the UK and France about a quarantine-free corridor with no checks abandoned two weeks ago.

Currently, Britons can only fly to France on ‘essential’ business, a position it said earlier this week would be reviewed on June 15. 

Responding to the UK’s announcement last night, a spokesman for France’s Interior Minister said: ‘We take note of the British government’s decision and we regret it.

‘France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side.’  

Raffaele Trombetta, the Italian ambassador to the UK, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that no discussions had yet taken place between the two countries.

He said: ‘There is always a large number of British tourists coming to Italy, it’s one of Britain’s preferred destinations.  

‘We had 40 million trips from the UK to Italy last year. We know how much they love Italy. We are still open, welcoming them. 

‘We believe that this is pandemic is a global problem so the best thing to do is to tackle it with a coordinated approach.’

Mr Trombetta pointed to Italy’s own plans to lift quarantine rules for those travelling from the UK and the EU as of June 3.

He said: ‘We have made it clear what we are going to do and it’s important for British people to know that they can come to Italy. 

‘We understand that the UK’s new rules will be reassessed after three weeks so hopefully there will be an easing of the measures as we are doing in Italy.’

The strict new rules

What is going to happen?

All passengers arriving in the UK will have to fill in a form before heading to Britain. This will include British nationals coming home, as well as foreign visitors. You must provide the address at which you will be staying in the UK – and self-isolate there. You will not be allowed to leave that address at all, or receive visitors, for 14 days.

How will it work?

Passengers will be able to complete ‘contact locator form’ on the Government’s website up to 48 hours before departure. There will be no paper versions of the form. Failing to complete the form before travelling is a crime, but there will be a short grace period and allow travellers to fill in the form electronically in the arrivals hall.

How will this be enforced?

There will be spot checks to ensure all passengers have completed a form. Border Force staff will interview people as they leave planes and at border checkpoints.

What happens if I refuse to fill in a contact locator form?

You will be given an on-the-spot £100 fine by Border Force officers.

When will this come into force?

June 8.

What checks will take place during the 14-day period?

Public health officials will carry out random checks by telephone. If these raise doubts, police will visit the address, issuing a fine where necessary.

What happens if I leave the address I provide in the form?

In England, you will be issued with a £1,000 spot fine. You could even be prosecuted, and face an unlimited fine if convicted. The fine could increase beyond £1,000 if the ‘risk of infection from abroad increases’, the Home Office says. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have their own enforcement systems. 

Several exemptions to the new rules were announced last night, including those living in Ireland, healthcare workers pilots.

However Ms Patel’s plans were also panned by the travel industry, which pointed out that those arriving in the UK will be allowed to use public transport to reach their address, possibly infecting others.

They also said that people could get around the rules by first flying into Ireland, which is exempt from the quarantine rules, before then travelling into Britain. 

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, was among the first to hit out at the new guidelines, which Ms Patel has already admitted would be under constant review. 

In a statement, it described the regime as ‘unenforceable’ and said it was ‘strongly opposed to ineffective non-scientific measures’. 

A spokesman added: ‘This isolation measure simply does not work unless passengers arriving in international UK airports are detained in airport terminals or hotels for the 14-day period.

‘Once these arriving passengers have travelled on the crowded London Underground, or the Heathrow and Gatwick Express, or buses or taxis to their destination, the subsequent quarantine is pointless.

‘If this measure had any basis in science, then the Irish visitors would not and could not be exempt.’

British ministers are said to be examining the idea of ‘Covid passports’ that could allow those who have had the disease to travel more widely without the need to undergo quarantine on their return to the UK.

The plans to get tourism moving are being promoted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is said to have the backing of both Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad at ports and airports.

Under the plans, travellers arriving at all ports and airports will be ordered to go into self-isolation for a fortnight and to provide an address and contact details. 

They will not be allowed to accept visitors, unless they are providing essential support, and should not go out to buy food or other essentials ‘where they can rely on others’, the Home Office said. 

There is a small number of exemptions for truck drivers and some other critical roles while transit passengers who do not formally enter the UK will also be exempt.     

Public health officials are expected to conduct approximately 100 spot checks every day to ensure people are sticking to self-isolation. Those checks will start from the middle of June. 

People who arrive in the UK without accommodation arranged will have to pay for Government-arranged accommodation themselves. 

Passengers wearing personal protective equipment queued up to board a flight at Heathrow Airport on Friday

Passengers wearing personal protective equipment queued up to board a flight at Heathrow Airport on Friday

Despite Ms Patel insisting the policy will be reviewed every three weeks, Whitehall sources have played down hopes that the measures could be lifted before the summer holiday season.   

Virgin Atlantic warned the plan would keep planes grounded. 

‘The safety and security of our people and our customers is always our top priority and public health must come first,’ a spokeswoman said. 

‘However, by introducing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the Government’s approach will prevent flights from resuming. 

‘We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.’

The airline instead called on the Government to introduce a ‘multi-layered approach’ with targeted public health and screening measures to allow the safe restart of international travel. 

The chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, had earlier told the Home Affairs Select Committee that drastic reductions in passenger numbers ‘may simply lead to a prolonged shutdown of all aviation’.



European fury at Britain’s chaotic quarantine rules with French leading outrage

European leaders have reacted with fury after Britain revealed its plans for a tough new quarantine regime requiring arrivals into the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has received widespread backlash both at home and abroad after unveiling the measures, which have been dubbed ‘ineffective and unenforceable’ by the travel industry.

Ms Patel’s announced yesterday that anyone arriving into the UK from June 8 would be legally required to self-isolate for two weeks or face fines of up to £3,200. 

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it ‘regretted’ the decision and would look to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders.

Meanwhile Italy, which at one point was the epicentre of Europe’s coronavirus crisis, said it hoped Britain would rethink its rules and called for a ‘coordinated approach’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has received widespread backlash both at home and abroad after unveiling the new quarantine measures on Friday

Pictured: Passengers wearing PPE queue up to board a China-bound flight at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport on Friday

Pictured: Passengers wearing PPE queue up to board a China-bound flight at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport on Friday

Ms Patel said that ‘air bridges’ could be agreed with certain countries with a similar or lower Covid-19 infection rate, meaning citizens could travel between each nation without the imposing of self-isolation.

However no such agreements had been finalized as of Friday’s announcement, while preliminary talks between the UK and France about a quarantine-free corridor with no checks abandoned two weeks ago.

Responding to yesterday’s announcement last night, a spokesman for France’s Interior Minister said: ‘We take note of the British government’s decision and we regret it.

‘France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side.’

Who is exempt from the government’s mandatory 

Here is the list of people exempt from the 14-day self-isolation requirement.

– A road haulage worker and road passenger transport worker

– A transit passenger, an individual transiting to a country outside of the Common Travel Area, who remains airside and does not pass border control

– An individual arriving to attend pre-arranged treatment, when receiving that treatment in the UK

– A registered health or care professional travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus

– A person who has travelled to the UK for the purpose of transporting, to a healthcare provider in the UK, material which consists of, or includes, human cells or blood which are to be used for the purpose of providing healthcare

– Quality assurance inspectors for human medicines

– Sponsors and essential persons needed for clinical trials or studies

– Civil aviation inspectors engaged on inspection duties

– Eurotunnel train drivers and crew, Eurotunnel Shuttle drivers, freight train drivers, crew and essential cross-border rail freight workers operating through the Channel Tunnel

– A Euratom inspector

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works, related to water supplies and sewerage services

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works related to a generating system, an electricity interconnector, a district heat network, communal heating, automated ballast cleaning and track re-laying systems or network

– A worker undertaking activities in offshore installations, upstream petroleum infrastructure, critical safety work on offshore installations and wells

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works

– Drivers and crew of trains operated by Eurostar International Limited, essential cross-border workers working for Eurostar International Limited

– Operational, rail maintenance, security and safety workers working on the Channel Tunnel system

– A worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services  

– Seamen and masters

– A pilot, as defined in paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 3A to the Merchant Shipping Act

– An inspector, and surveyor of ships

– Crew, as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 2016(h), where such crew have travelled to the UK in the course of their work

– Nuclear personnel who are essential to the safe and secure operations of a licensed nuclear site

– Nuclear emergency responder

– Agency inspector

– An inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a specialist aerospace engineer, or a specialist aerospace worker

– A person engaged in operational, maintenance or safety activities of a downstream oil facility that has a capacity in excess of 20,000 tonnes

– A postal worker involved in the transport of mail into and out of the UK

– A person involved in essential maintenance and repair of data infrastructure

– An information technology or telecommunications professional whose expertise is required to provide an essential or emergency response to threats and incidents relating to security

– A person who is engaged in urgent or essential work on electronic communications networks

– A person who is engaged in urgent or essential work for the BBC’s broadcasting transmission network and services

– A seasonal agricultural worker 

– Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the United Kingdom

– Crown servants or government contractors returning to the United Kingdom who are either: required to undertake policing or essential government work in the United Kingdom within 14 days of their arrival, have been undertaking policing or essential government work outside of the United Kingdom but are required to return temporarily, after which they will depart to conduct policing or essential government work outside the United Kingdom

– International prison escorts – a person designated by the relevant Minister under section 5(3) of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984(a)

– A person responsible for escorting a person sought for extradition pursuant to a warrant issued under Part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003 or sought for extradition pursuant to any other extradition arrangements

– Defence personnel and contractors doing work necessary for the delivery of essential Defence activities, including Visiting Forces and NATO

– An official required to work on essential border security duties

– A person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week 

Raffaele Trombetta, the Italian ambassador to the UK, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that no discussions had yet taken place between the two countries.

He said: ‘There is always a large number of British tourists coming to Italy, it’s one of Britain’s preferred destinations.  

‘We had 40 million trips from the UK to Italy last year. We know how much they love Italy. We are still open, welcoming them. 

‘We believe that this is pandemic is a global problem so the best thing to do is to tackle it with a coordinated approach.’

Mr Trombetta pointed to Italy’s own plans to lift quarantine rules for those travelling from the UK and the EU as of June 3.

He said: ‘We have made it clear what we are going to do and it’s important for British people to know that they can come to Italy. 

‘We understand that the UK’s new rules will be reassessed after three weeks so hopefully there will be an easing of the measures as we are doing in Italy.’

Several exemptions to the new rules were announced last night, including those living in Ireland, healthcare workers pilots.

However Ms Patel’s plans were also panned by the travel industry, which pointed out that those arriving in the UK will be allowed to use public transport to reach their address, possibly infecting others.

They also said that people could get around the rules by first flying into Ireland, which is exempt from the quarantine rules, before then travelling into Britain. 

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, was among the first to hit out at the new guidelines, which Ms Patel has already admitted would be under constant review. 

In a statement, it described the regime as ‘unenforceable’ and said it was ‘strongly opposed to ineffective non-scientific measures’. 

A spokesman added: ‘This isolation measure simply does not work unless passengers arriving in international UK airports are detained in airport terminals or hotels for the 14-day period.

‘Once these arriving passengers have travelled on the crowded London Underground, or the Heathrow and Gatwick Express, or buses or taxis to their destination, the subsequent quarantine is pointless.

‘If this measure had any basis in science, then the Irish visitors would not and could not be exempt.’

British ministers are said to be examining the idea of ‘Covid passports’ that could allow those who have had the disease to travel more widely without the need to undergo quarantine on their return to the UK.

The plans to get tourism moving are being promoted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is said to have the backing of both Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad at ports and airports.

Under the plans, travellers arriving at all ports and airports will be ordered to go into self-isolation for a fortnight and to provide an address and contact details. 

They will not be allowed to accept visitors, unless they are providing essential support, and should not go out to buy food or other essentials ‘where they can rely on others’, the Home Office said. 

There is likely to be a small number of exemptions for truck drivers and some other critical roles while transit passengers who do not formally enter the UK will also be exempt.     

Public health officials are expected to conduct approximately 100 spot checks every day to ensure people are sticking to self-isolation. Those checks will start from the middle of June. 

People who arrive in the UK without accommodation arranged will have to pay for Government-arranged accommodation themselves. 

Despite Ms Patel insisting the policy will be reviewed every three weeks, Whitehall sources have played down hopes that the measures could be lifted before the summer holiday season.   

Virgin Atlantic warned the plan would keep planes grounded. 

‘The safety and security of our people and our customers is always our top priority and public health must come first,’ a spokeswoman said. 

‘However, by introducing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the Government’s approach will prevent flights from resuming. 

‘We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.’

The airline instead called on the Government to introduce a ‘multi-layered approach’ with targeted public health and screening measures to allow the safe restart of international travel. 

The chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, had earlier told the Home Affairs Select Committee that drastic reductions in passenger numbers ‘may simply lead to a prolonged shutdown of all aviation’. 

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it 'regretted' the decision and would look to impose a 'reciprocal measure' on Brits arriving at its borders

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it ‘regretted’ the decision and would look to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders

Passengers wearing personal protective equipment queued up to board a flight at Heathrow Airport on Friday

Passengers wearing personal protective equipment queued up to board a flight at Heathrow Airport on Friday

The strict new rules

What is going to happen?

All passengers arriving in the UK will have to fill in a form before heading to Britain. This will include British nationals coming home, as well as foreign visitors. You must provide the address at which you will be staying in the UK – and self-isolate there. You will not be allowed to leave that address at all, or receive visitors, for 14 days.

How will it work?

Passengers will be able to complete ‘contact locator form’ on the Government’s website up to 48 hours before departure. There will be no paper versions of the form. Failing to complete the form before travelling is a crime, but there will be a short grace period and allow travellers to fill in the form electronically in the arrivals hall.

How will this be enforced?

There will be spot checks to ensure all passengers have completed a form. Border Force staff will interview people as they leave planes and at border checkpoints.

What happens if I refuse to fill in a contact locator form?

You will be given an on-the-spot £100 fine by Border Force officers.

When will this come into force?

June 8.

What checks will take place during the 14-day period?

Public health officials will carry out random checks by telephone. If these raise doubts, police will visit the address, issuing a fine where necessary.

What happens if I leave the address I provide in the form?

In England, you will be issued with a £1,000 spot fine. You could even be prosecuted, and face an unlimited fine if convicted. The fine could increase beyond £1,000 if the ‘risk of infection from abroad increases’, the Home Office says. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have their own enforcement systems. 

A spokesperson for the Association of Independent Tour Operators told The Daily Telegraph: ‘As with so many Government ‘initiatives’, the 14-day quarantine rule comes across as a bit of a stab in the dark, quite possibly to be changed as quickly as it was introduced, as with the mooted air bridges.

‘In reality, quarantine should have been put in place right at the start of the pandemic, as our European neighbours did – we are now out of synch with them, as they emerge from quarantine and we go into it.’  

Piers Morgan lead calls for transparency about why coronavirus carriers were able to fly into the UK in the first place.

He wrote: ‘Of all the inexplicable decisions this Govt has made during the coronavirus crisis, quarantining people who fly into the UK after 20 million people have already flown in and 62,000 people have already died is the most… inexplicable.’

Nigel Farage tweeted: ‘The government quarantine should have been three months ago, not now. Far too late.’ 

Ms Patel insisted the Government does ‘recognise how hard these changes will be for our travel sector’ and that ministers will work with the industry to find ‘new ways to reopen international travel and tourism in a safe and responsible way’. 

A former head of Border Force said today he was ‘surprised’ quarantine measures had not been brought in at UK borders sooner.

Tony Smith, now chairman of the International Border Management and Technologies Association, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee today: ‘Yes I was surprised that we hadn’t seen earlier measures introduced at the UK border.’ 

Mr Shapps on Monday raised the idea of ‘air bridges’ with popular tourist destinations such as Spain. 

Madrid yesterday signalled it might be prepared to welcome UK tourists from July without asking them to self-isolate for 14 days.  

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘We need to find a way that the vast, vast, vast majority of people who don’t have a disease can still fly.’