A parliamentary debate on the government’s proposed 14-day quarantine on arrival policy, due to come into force on Monday (8 June), has reportedly been pushed back as pressure grows on home secretary Priti Patel to water down the policy – or drop it altogether.
Ministers were understood to have been due to discuss the issue when they returned to parliament on Tuesday (2 June).
However, the man behind a travel sector-led campaign to scrap the quarantine proposal, Red Savannah chief executive George Morgan-Grenville, told an Elman Wall seminar on Tuesday the debate would now take place on Wednesday (3 June).
After Morgan-Grenville’s campaign, now backed by more than 300 travel firms, hit the headlines late last week and over the weekend, the momentum carried over into – and coincided with – MPs return to parliament; the issue commanded the front page of The Times on Tuesday, while The Guardian led on criticism of the government’s quarantine policy.
Morgan-Grenville told delegates on the call that while he was unsure whether the delay would make any material difference to the government’s final decision, he said it highlighted just how seriously government was taking the matter, and the level of dissent.
"What I’ve realised is there is a real sense of anger out there," said Morgan-Grenville, adding travel was an "industry in crisis" and one that for too long didn’t have a voice.
A survey of those who have backed the campaign, the results of which were released on Tuesday, revealed what the travel sector perceives could be the stark impact of a quarantine on arrival policy, with 94% of respondents warning they felt it would wipe out their entire business for the summer.
Seven in 10 respondents said they faced making up to two-thirds of their staff redundant if the government presses ahead with the policy, while another 28% said they may have to cease trading as a result.
Among the more than signatories are Kuoni, Gold Medal, Inghams, Cosmos and Kirker Holidays. Any travel leaders wishing to back the campaign should email their name, title and firm to firstname.lastname@example.org.