During Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Boris Johnson said that Britain risks being cut off from the rest of the world if he closes the borders.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was also urged by Johnson to get behind the new controversial measures which will see people jailed for up to 10-years if they lie over their travel to red list countries.
Sir Keir urged the Prime Minister to go further on borders, extend the furlough scheme, business rates relief and VAT cuts for the hospitality sector.
Johnson was accused by the Labour leader of appearing to “change policy pretty well every day” over decisions on securing the UK’s borders against other mutant variants.
Sir Keir added that Oxford University research indicates that the UK are behind others regarding restrictions.
The Labour leader asked, “Fifty days after we first discovered the South African variant, how does the Prime Minister explain that?”
Johnson told the Commons, “There are some countries in Europe which don’t even have a hotel quarantine scheme such as the one we’re putting in on Monday.
“We have amongst the toughest border regimes anywhere in the world.
“People should understand that on a normal day at this time of year you could expect about 250,000 to be arriving in this country.
“We’ve got it down to about 20,000 – 5,000 of them who are involved in bringing in vital things into this country, such as medicines and food.
“Unless he actually wants to cut this country off from the rest of the world, which I think last week he said he didn’t want to do, unless of course he’s changed his mind again, I think this policy is measured, proportionate, it’s getting tougher from Monday and I hope he supports it.”
Sir Keir countered, “The Prime Minister is failing to give security to British businesses and he’s failing to secure our borders.”
He added, “No more delays, would he do it?”
To which Johnson said that “I’m delighted he’s supporting business in his latest stunt of bandwagoneering, not a policy for which he was famous before.”
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