The transport secretary has defended Stanley Johnson’s recent trip to Greece, arguing the prime minister’s dad was ‘in his rights’ to ignore travel advice.
Grant Shapps told Sky News that Johnson senior could ignore government guidance against travel because it was ‘advice and not restrictions’.
Replying to accusations the prime minister’s dad broke the rules during his latest jaunt to Europe, the minister said: ‘When you say restrictions, he would have ignored travel advice, not restrictions, and the advice says you need to make your own decision about whether you want to travel,’ he said.
‘What he won’t be able to ignore, of course, and this applies to anyone returning to this country from a country not on the government’s list [of approved countries], is quarantine for 14 days.’
When asked for his opinion on Johnson’s decision to ignore the guidance, Shapps replied: ‘Well, it’s advice so, you know, anyone can decide what to do.’
‘The advice is optional, that is what you’re saying?’, the presenter put to Tory MP.
‘Yeah, the clue’s in the name but, the quarantine isn’t. So, he’d still have to quarantine.’
He added: ‘What isn’t advice and is legal, legally restrictive in this sense, is the quarantine and that would apply to him as it would to apply to anyone else.’
Stanley Johnson has faced a wave of backlash after it emerged he went against Covid-19 travel advice to fly to Thessaly, Greece on what he claimed was ‘essential business’.
Since the outbreak, the government has advised against all unessential travel in and outside of the UK. That guidance is set to change on Friday when Downing Street publishes a list of countries people can travel to without having to face quarantine on return.