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UK risks legal challenges over air bridges – Raab

Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

The Government risks legal challenges if it forms travel corridors with some countries but excludes others, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned.

There has been widespread calls for so-called air bridges to be created with destinations where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low, to enable travellers to avoid the 14-day quarantine requirement when entering or returning to the UK.

But Mr Raab told BBC Breakfast: “What we are going to look at is how (international travel) can be done safely and responsibly.

“Of course there is a risk of legal challenge if you open up for one country and not others so we want to make sure we can open up – and this is our starting point – as soon as we can safely and responsibly do so.”

He added: “If you open up the airports and don’t open up the Eurotunnel or if you open up to one country but not in relation to others there is always a risk of legal challenge.”

Senior Conservative backbencher Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said he is “confident” that quarantine measures will be eased with travel corridors introduced by the end of June.

The treasurer of the 1922 Committee told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I am pretty confident by June 28 or thereabouts that we will have had some negotiations on the paired corridors with countries which have lower rates than ours.

“So I think that will be gradually eased as from June 28.”

Sir Geoffrey’s comments come after the 1922 Committee’s executive met with Boris Johnson on Wednesday.

All passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – are required to go into self-isolation for 14 days when they arrive in the UK.

People who fail to comply can be fined £1,000 in England, and police are allowed to use “reasonable force” to make sure they follow the rules.

No 10 said on Wednesday it had no data on how many people had been fined for not complying.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I’m not aware of any fines being issued or anecdotally of anyone refusing to give details when asked.”