MPs assure British tourists the ‘traffic lights’ won’t change while they are away

British holidaymakers should be given a ‘guarantee’ that the traffic light rules that apply when they touch down abroad will be the same for their return, MPs have said.

It comes as millions of summer holidays risk being thrown into chaos by plans for a danger list that could force people to pay for hotel quarantine upon returning to the UK.

Last week Ministers agreed in principle a new ‘amber watch list’ which could mean amber countries go straight to red.

In an attempt to protect holidaymakers who have already gone to an amber country, MPs last night called for a guarantee they would not have to quarantine because their destination was placed on the red list while they were abroad.

Ministers agreed in principle to a new 'amber watch list'. MPs called for a guarantee tourists would not have to quarantine if a location was placed on the red list while they were abroad. Pictured: British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport on July 16

Ministers agreed in principle to a new 'amber watch list'. MPs called for a guarantee tourists would not have to quarantine if a location was placed on the red list while they were abroad. Pictured: British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport on July 16

Ministers agreed in principle to a new ‘amber watch list’. MPs called for a guarantee tourists would not have to quarantine if a location was placed on the red list while they were abroad. Pictured: British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport on July 16

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week

It would mean people who flew out under one set of rules would be allowed to fly back on the same rules, even if the country designation changed while there.

Sir John Hayes, who leads the Common Sense group of Tory MPs, said: ‘It is really important holidaymakers know where they stand. The worst in the world would be if you have flown somewhere and find you will not be able to get back except at significant cost.’

He called on Ministers to ‘get the balance right’ and not ‘move the goal posts’ for fully vaccinated people who were told they could fly to amber countries without needing to isolate.

‘Hopefully we can sort something out that reassures people that if they do embark on a trip without being stranded. It’s common sense.’

Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, said there should be a time-limited window in which people can fly back under the same rules they flew out on.

He called on Ministers to introduce ‘some sort of fortnight guarantee if you travelled in good faith, you should be allowed to come back in on the conditions you left.’

The MP added the current system is ‘really putting people off international travel, to places that are arguably safer than many parts of the UK. The real effects will be more job losses in the travel and aviation sectors.’

The new traffic light plan comes just weeks after double-jabbed Brits were told they could go to amber countries without having to self-isolate on their return. However France was moved to an ‘amber plus’ list and exempted.

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week. 

Tom Hunt, the Conservative who also sits on the Common Sense Group of MPs, said that, unless the Government this week ‘significantly’ expands the green list, people flying to amber list countries should be given more protection.

Mr Hunt said giving people a guarantee they can return on the same rules they flew out with is ‘reasonable’ and called on the Government to consider it.

The MP called on Ministers to ‘chart a balance between keeping an eye on variants and borders, and giving certainty to holidaymakers.

Mr Hunt also warned of the mental health impact on holidaymakers finally trying to get a break. ‘If you’re checking your phone every hour when over in one of these countries, anxious about it changing category, it counteracts the whole point of a holiday,’ he said.

Claire Brophy, 40, from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, flew to Alicante yesterday to see her parents for the first time in a year.

If Spain moved on to a red list she would have to fly home immediately to allow time to self-isolate before the start of her two children’s school term and pay about £600 for Covid tests.

She said: ‘Changing the traffic lights for Spain absolutely shouldn’t be allowed: the cost of that for our family would be ludicrous. If this trip was just for a holiday, I wouldn’t bother. But I haven’t seen my family since last August.’

She and husband Damien, 39, booked their second vaccinations when the Government said double-jabbed passengers travelling to amber countries would be exempt from quarantine from July 19.

But Ms Brophy is now angry the freedom promised by the vaccine could be taken away.

Last night the travel industry attacked Ministers’ traffic lights approach and ‘chaos’ over travel.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airlines UK, which represents the UK’s major airlines, said: ‘Cooking up yet another traffic light tier at will – the sixth since the Global Travel Taskforce was published – would be a further blow to demand in the middle of what is supposed to be the peak summer season.

‘The Government must focus on getting more countries on to the green list during its review next week. That’s the single best way to provide the necessary reassurance to families desperate to get away.’

Link hienalouca.com

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