Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

Simon Calder warns holidays now ‘pawns’ in Conservative power struggle ‘What a surprise!’

Holidays are 'pawns' in government 'power struggle' says Calder

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Simon Calder delivered a damning verdict on the current state of UK travel and stated the rules were being politicised with holidays being used as “pawns” amid reports of Conservative Party fractures emerging. Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to lift travel restrictions for the sake of the economy in an unprecedented move reported by the Sunday Times. Other ministers have been vocally opposed on what new rules the UK should follow ahead of the Thursday travel review with Mr Calder believing things will only get worse for anyone hoping to get away this year. 

Speaking on TalkRADIO, Mr Calder looked at the Government’s disagreements over travel advice and said the decisions to keep restrictions that are badly communicated will negatively hurt the Conservatives in the polls. 

He told radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer: In many months, you and I have been very pro-travel and have been in a minority.

“Most of your listeners you would ask them and about 60-70 percent would say keep the borders closed.

“Now it’s August, understandably, and I don’t I’m not criticising anybody here, but lots of people are thinking it would be lovely to have a holiday and therefore the polls have swung in favour of more travel opportunities.

“Of course, backed by the fantastic NHS vaccine rollout.

“And so, it will surprise you instead of Rishi Sunak popping around from No11 to No10 for a quick word.

“He writes a big long letter and gets the Sunday Times to put it on their front page.

“So what we’re seeing out there is now our holidays are pawns in the middle of this power struggle at the top of government, so it’s not doing anybody any great credit.”

Travel: Easing of rules 'shows government confidence' says MP

Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to bring the UK’s travel rules in line with other nations as he feared time was running out to save the summer travel industry. 

But political pundits have said Mr Sunak’s decision to make a big display may be a power move ahead of a potential leadership contest. 

A poll published by Conservative Home showed Mr Sunak was the favourite to take over from Mr Johnson as the next prime minister. 

The Government is set to publish its travel review on Thursday as part of its three-week audit which will move countries onto different lists and update rules. 

Reports suggest the Government will move France from its amber-plus list following public outcry over its addition due to the surge in the Beta variant. 

The BBC also reports the proposed amber watchlist will be scrapped too. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has come under scrutiny after the surge in French Beta variant cases was mainly isolated on the French island, Reunion. 

However, the minister insists there were outbreaks in northern France that also influenced the Government’s decision.

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