Minister doesn’t know numbers fined for flouting quarantine rules despite leading department overseeing them

PUBLISHED: 11:34 21 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 21 August 2020

Transport minister Grant Shapps. Photograph: BBC/Twitter

Transport minister Grant Shapps. Photograph: BBC/Twitter

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A minister responsible for overseeing the UK’s quarantine rules he said he has no idea how many people arriving from abroad had been fined for flouting the advice.

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Transport minister Grant Shapps said border force authorities had not yet reported the figure to him.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Shapps faced a number of questions over the government’s quarantine policy.

BBC host Naga Munchetty said people were “openly bragging” about not filling in their Passenger Locator Form and began reading out comments from viewers who had detailed their own experiences of not being tested on arrival to the UK.

She said: “Emma arrived from abroad through Dover port and [had] no check at all.

“Chris said this is the fifth time he was arriving into the UK and [was] finally checked.

Chris said that people were “openly bragging” about not filling in the forms and told the minister: “If you’re going to have a policy that inflicts such harm on the travel industry, at least implement it correctly.”

Munchetty then read out James’ experience flying into Heathrow airport from Germany several weeks ago.

“Upon return he was asked to fill out the online information form. He gave up after 20 minutes. It didn’t matter a jot as there wasn’t a soul in London Heathrow arrivals checking anything,” she said.

Shapps defended the policy and said the majority of policing “fell on the people”. He also added it was a criminal offence to leave a locator form empty.

“But no one is checking!” exclaimed Munchetty.

“Has anyone been fined yet? How many?”

Shapps replied: “The border force will announce this because in meantime I don’t have their data.”

Munchetty shot back: “You’re the transport secretary, why don’t you have the data?”

Shapps said that “in this country we allow the authorities to get on with their job and they release the information, not ministers. That’s why.”

Travel industry bosses have slammed the government’s quarantine policy which has forced travellers returning from countries not on the Foreign Commonwealth Office’s travel corridor list to self-isolate for 14 days.

They are now calling for instant testing at airports which the government has repeatedly said would difficult to implement.

Shapps’ appearance comes as a new quarantine is imposed on Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad & Tobago.

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