MATT Hancock reportedly told MPs he had booked a summer trip to Cornwall – despite Boris Johnson insisting it was too early to make holiday plans.
It came on a day of mixed messages as cabinet ministers offered wildly different answers on whether it was safe to plan a summer getaway.
Matt Hancock reportedly told MPs he had booked a summer trip to CornwallCredit: AFP or licensors
Cabinet ministers have offered wildly different answers on whether it was safe to plan a summer getaway (File photo)Credit: Alamy Live News
The Health Secretary, who has traditionally been in favour of heavier restrictions during the pandemic, is said to have given an optimistic assessment of the months ahead to MPs.
Last month, Mr Hancock said the public could look forward to a “Great British Summer” – and revealed he had planned a trip to Cornwall.
According to The Times, Mr Hancock told the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers on Tuesday that the getaway was going ahead as confusion mounted over the holiday season.
One MP in the meeting told the paper: “He says we should be looking forward to a great summer.”
His comments directly contradicted claims made by Grant Shapps yesterday that Brits shouldn’t be booking holidays.
The transport secretary declared yesterday morning: “People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Shapps added that travelling abroad would depend on “everybody having their vaccinations” in the UK – and potentially abroad.
Though Britain is on course to immunise large swathes of the adult population by summer, other countries have seen the rollout hampered by production delays and a struggle to acquire doses.
Adding to the confusion, Boris Johnson told a Downing Street briefing yesterday it was “just too early for people to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer”.
Whitehall sources told the Daily Mail that, despite growing pessimism over the summer break, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture secretary Oliver Dowden were working on packages to promote getaways in the UK.
An insider said: “We are going to strain every sinew to let people have a holiday this summer.”
Another senior Tory added: “We are in danger of making “holiday” a dirty word when it should be exactly the sort of aspirational thing we are celebrating.”
Grant Shapps yesterday said that Brits shouldn’t be booking holidays
Speaking at a Downing Street briefing yesterday, the PM said he hoped he could reveal whether Brits could go on holiday when he outlines his roadmap out of lockdown on February 22.
Asked whether people could book a summer break, he stressed: “In the week of the 22nd, as I said, we’ll be setting out the roadmap.
“I hope that we’ll be able to give some clarity to people there.
“I am afraid it is just too early for people to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer.”
Boris also confirmed the Government is involved in speaking with travel firms about an app which will allow people to go on holiday – and prove they will have had the vaccine.
The uncertainty over the summer break comes after ministers clamped down on border controls in a bid to thwart new variants of the virus entering the UK.
Attempting to signal to the world that “Britain is closed” because of Covid, people forced to quarantine in hotels will also face fines of up to £2000 for failing to take covid tests after arrival – and the isolation period will be extended if they continue to refuse.
The new rules mean that anyone arriving from a “high-risk” country, which includes Portugal, the UAE, South America and South African nations, is not allowed to leave the 10 day quarantine – and will have to pay to quarantine at a hotel.
From February 15, the quarantine hotel rules will be enforced, which will cost £1,750 per person, which will have to be booked before travel.
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street briefing yesterday it was “just too early for people to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer”Credit: Getty – Pool