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Labour calls for essential international travel only – LabourList


The Andrew Marr Show

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas Symonds talked about international travel and the pandemic, particularly Labour’s call for a pause, for all amber list countries to be moved to the red list and for essential travel only to be permitted.

  • On international travel in the pandemic: “We’re not talking about pausing all international travel, we’re talking about pausing very briefly, a matter of days if not less to get this right.”
  • On the traffic light system: “The amber-list countries should be shifted on to the red list, so you have that comprehensive hotel quarantining. We can then have this green list in place, it’s only a very small list, got about 12 countries on it, some of which are not even accepting tourists.”
  • On hotel quarantine and who pays: “Clearly the hotel quarantine would be paid for by the passengers. You can have… concessionary arrangements in place like loans and other things to deal with particular situations.”
  • On the circumstances in which people should be able to travel and government messaging: “It should be essential travel only, rather than this mixed messaging that the government has been putting out.”
  • On Covid ‘variants of concern’ and the vaccine rollout: “We are in a race, Andrew, between the variants and our vaccination programme. And what we have to be doing is protecting the gains of the British people.”
  • On variants from abroad and the implications for the UK’s recovery from the pandemic: “The biggest threat we face to our unlocking is a variant from overseas that threatens the efficacy of our vaccines.”

Priti Patel said this morning that the Martin Bashir scandal raises questions over “governance, accountability, transparency” at the BBC, as well as “how relevant” it is, and these would be looked at as part of the charter review.

On the Covid restrictions the government has in place for international travel, the Home Secretary said the lists in the traffic light system are “always under review”, adding: “That list can change and will change.”

Patel defended the decision not to put India on the red list at the same time as Pakistan, but could not say how many of the more than 3,000 ‘Indian variant’ cases now confirmed in the UK are due to travel from India.

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds discussed immigration enforcement and the asylum system, criticising the government for its “utter incompetence” and urging ministers to “reconsider” the use of ‘dawn raids’.

  • Asked what objections Labour has to deporting foreign national offenders: “Clearly, people who’ve no right to be in this country shouldn’t be here but what we’ve seen from the Home Office is utter incompetence on this.”
  • On the asylum system: “The government keeps saying the asylum system is broken. They’ve been in power for 11 years and they broke it… What we don’t want to see is the government deflecting blame for their own failure.”
  • On measures to stop people crossing the English Channel: “The government needs to look at a number of measures: firstly, the long-promised agreement with France – that needs to be effective and it needs to be fully published.”
  • He added: “The government needs to revisit its decision to abolish the Department for International Development, the very department that existed to prevent people being driven from their homes in the first place.”
  • On safe routes to the UK: “The government needs to look at the issue of safe routes – for example, they closed down the Dubs scheme, the Dubs scheme which everyone in parliament expected to take in 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees was closed down prematurely after 300 – that’s the kind of approach the government needs to be taking.”
  • On the two people the Home Office attempted to remove from Glasgow recently: “People who shouldn’t be in this country, absolutely yes they have to be removed. With this particular situation in Glasgow, I don’t know in terms of the particular circumstances of it, I’m not sure that due process has been observed.
  • Pressed on whether he would deport them: “If it is shown due process has been fully followed and people aren’t entitled to stay, whether it’s the two men in Glasgow indeed anywhere else, then yes of course they should be removed.”
  • On dawn raids: “The whole method of immigration enforcement by the use of dawn raids is something that the government has to seriously reconsider because that particular method of enforcement clearly isn’t something that is building the confidence right across the community that we need to see.”

Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell argued that Jeremy Corbyn should be readmitted to the Parliamentary Labour Party and said Labour must now be putting forward a more “radical programme” to combat the climate emergency.

  • Asked whether it is time to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn: “Yes, it is. Keir when he was elected leader said that he’d unite the party and that’s why he received such overwhelming support when he was elected leader.”
  • He added: “One step in demonstrating that he is uniting the party is to give Jeremy back the whip. I think most of us can’t believe that he had the whip withdrawn in the first place when he was allowed to be a party member.”
  • On whether such a move would unite the party: “I actually do think that now is the time to move on… It would be one small step of Keir saying, look, I’m fulfilling the promise that I made to members of uniting the party.”
  • Asked whether he agrees it is “curtains” for Starmer if Labour loses Batley and Spen: “I don’t get into the personality issue… We should have a political debate about the direction of the party and that should never rest on one individual.”
  • On Angela Rayner’s criticism that “people did not know what Keir Starmer stood for”: “That was a valid criticism… [Starmer] did set out a basic ten-point programme and that doesn’t seem to be where he’s at at the moment.”
  • On the Starmer and past election manifestos: “What Keir said when he was elected leader is that he’d use the last manifestos as the sort of ‘foundational documents’ on which to build upon. Nobody expects him to slavishly follow past policies… In fact, the past policies, we do need to radicalise them and go further.”
  • On Labour policy: “We should be having now the policy debate… Keir’s now launched a policy review so that’s going to be the focal point for that debate so at least now we’re moving towards it.”
  • On Covid: “I know we’ve been tied down with the Covid pandemic but the last 12 months should have been used to that effect. Even in the Second World War… progressives and socialists were dreaming and discussing and planning.”
  • Put to him that he is advocating a more “left-wing” policy platform than the 2019 general election manifesto: “Trevor, Sophy Ridge set a very good, high standard for this programme. I think you should stick to that high standard… When you interview someone, don’t put words in their mouth.”
  • He added: “What I said is a more radical programme, you can interpret that as left, right, whatever. The reason we need to be more radical is because we’re facing in this country an existential crisis of climate change.”
  • On the climate emergency: “That’s the next big crisis that we face… Rushing towards us now is the threat of climate change and that means dramatic and radical change in our economy and the way in which we live.”
  • Asked what policies he thinks should “define” Labour: “Immediate action now to tackle poverty, that means a fair taxation system… Secondly, making sure that when people go to work they earn a decent wage… And then a green new deal.”
  • Put to him that Boris Johnson is “standing a bit to the left” of Starmer in terms of policy: “What we’ve got to do is cut through the rhetoric of the Tories and look at the substance. Take rail, for example, this isn’t nationalisation. What they’re doing is they’re leaving the rail in private hands so profits can go to the private sector but all the risks flow then to the public sector.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel discussed a new “legal migration and border strategy” for the UK, telling viewers on the show this morning that the plan, to be unveiled on Monday, “sets the framework for the future”.

She said the proposals would be based on “digitalisation of our borders and the simplification of our immigration laws”. Patel described the “important changes” as part of the Tory manifesto commitment to “take back control of our borders”.

On the attempt to remove two people from Glasgow earlier this month, Patel said that immigration enforcement officers were “doing their job by removing people with no legal basis to be in the UK” and criticised Nicola Sturgeon’s objections.

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