Boris Johnson – Boris Johnson accused of risking UK security after Priti Patel claims she advocated border shutdown final March
BORIS Johnson has been accused of “incompetence” and risking UK security after it emerged Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, had advocated closing the nation’s borders to worldwide travellers as way back as final March firstly of the pandemic.
As Labour demanded an pressing evaluation of border coverage Keir Starmer, throughout Prime Minister’s Questions, challenged Mr Johnson on the problem referring to Ms Patel’s reported remarks to the Conservative Associates of India group, which went towards her public defence of the Authorities’s choice to not enact a full arrivals shutdown.
In a recording of the Tory occasion, Ms Patel stated: “On ‘should we have closed our borders earlier’, the answer is yes. I was an advocate of closing them last March.”
The Labour chief, quoting her phrases, requested the PM why he had overruled the Home Secretary.
Mr Johnson responded by declaring to MPs that final March Sir Keir had been adamant the UK didn’t want to shut its borders and derided him, saying: “As usual Captain Hindsight had changed his tune to suit events.”
The PM declared: “We’re in the midst of a nationwide pandemic and this nation is dealing with a really, very grave death-toll and we’re doing every little thing we are able to to guard the British public, which is what he would count on.
“That’s why we’ve instituted one of many hardest border regimes on the earth, that’s why we insist that you need to get a check 72 hours earlier than you fly, there have to be a passenger locator kind which you need to present and you will need to quarantine for 10 days or 5 days if you happen to do a second check.
“I’m delighted he now praises the Home Secretary, a change of tune from him. I’m delighted he is in favour of tough border controls because he wasn’t last year and, indeed, he campaigned for the leadership of the Labour Party on a manifesto to get back to free movement.”
Mr Starmer insisted it was not hindsight, declaring that what Ms Patel had stated final March was not being disputed by the PM, and so he repeated the identical query about why he had overruled his Cupboard colleague.
Mr Johnson responded by saying the Authorities had instituted one of many hardest border regimes on the earth and repeated the purpose that Mr Starmer had final March supported sustaining an open border.
He instructed the Labour chief: “The entire expertise of listening to him over the previous few months has actually been like watching a weather-vane spinning spherical and spherical relying on which approach the breeze is blowing.
“We are getting on with tackling this pandemic through the most practical means that are available to us, rolling out a vaccine programme that has now inoculated 4.2 million people in our country whereas he would have joined the EU scheme, if I seem to remember, he attacked the vaccine taskforce, which secured the supplies on which we are now relying and he stood on a manifesto at the last election to unbundle the very pharmaceutical companies on whose breakthroughs this country is now relying upon.”
To Tory hear-hears, the PM attacked the Opposition, saying: “They continue to look backwards, to play politics, to snipe from the sidelines; we look forwards and get on with the job.”
Earlier, Ms Patel continued her public defence of the Authorities’s actions in distinction to her non-public feedback, telling broadcasters that ministers had adopted scientific recommendation over border controls.
She instructed BBC Breakfast: “Authorities has listened to a spread of recommendation and adopted recommendation from professionals and advisers – medical and scientific – from day one in every of this pandemic and there was collective decision-making throughout the board.
“When it comes to border measures, for example, there was a lot of work that took place last year, both in transport and in the Home Office, but also working with the scientists who advised us at the time when coronavirus was incredibly high that it would not have made a difference to have taken border measures.”
Nick Thomas-Symonds, her Labour Shadow, stated: “It is a surprising admission from the Home Secretary in regards to the Authorities’s failure to safe the UK’s borders towards Covid.
“Priti Patel’s admission, coupled with the whole lack of technique for testing of travellers, signifies that the Authorities has left our doorways open to the virus and worrying mutations.
“Ministers now need to – urgently – review and overhaul border policy, whilst taking responsibility for the huge damage their incompetence has done to our national safety and security,” added the Shadow Home Secretary.
Joanna Cherry for the SNP stated: “Priti Patel’s admission comes far too late and doesn’t change the truth that 1000’s of individuals have been allowed to enter the UK for therefore lengthy throughout a worldwide pandemic with out the suitable checks and measures in place.”
The Edinburgh MP identified how she had known as for well being safety measures to be put in place at UK borders proper at the start of the pandemic however was ignored by the UK Authorities for weeks earlier than it U-turned and launched an ineffective system for a lot too quick a interval.
“It’s deeply regarding the Home Secretary knew what needed to be performed however failed to take action and repeated the identical errors we have seen the UK Authorities make all through this disaster by bringing in measures on the eleventh hour.”
Noting how different international locations in Europe and the world over had launched these measures months earlier than the UK recognising how important they have been, Ms Cherry added: “The Home Secretary has persistently been far too gradual to behave on this and should clarify why she didn’t step as much as forestall elevated threat of transmission – regardless of realizing it was the suitable factor to do.”
A Home Workplace spokesman stated: “We have strong measures at the border in place which are vital as we roll out the vaccine.”