Press "Enter" to skip to content

10 times UK government flip-flopped on summer holidays

Millions of people across Britain are seeking a glimmer of hope on the potential to go on holiday when coronavirus lockdown lifts. But anyone listening to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top team over the past month will be clueless as to how they should be planning for summer.

Here’s a timeline of the conflicting messages:

❌ January 17: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told LBC people should not be booking holidays yet: “I think at the moment it’s too early. Until we’re in a position to give the reassurance, I think it’s very difficult to plan.”

✅ January 18: Health Secretary Matt Hancock completely contradicted Raab at a Downing Street press conference: “I’m going to Cornwall. And I have said before I think we’re going to have a great British summer.” His remarks led to hotels and holiday companies urging people to book for the summer as soon as possible.

THE RIGHT MONK:   Justin Thomas apologises for homophobic slur after missing putt on PGA Tour

❌ January 26: Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi directly contradicted Hancock, telling Sky News he “absolutely” wouldn’t be booking a summer holiday yet as it was “far too early” to do so.

✅ January 31: Hancock doubled down, telling BBC Politics East: “In six months we’ll be in the middle, I hope, of a happy and free Great British summer.”

❌ January 31: The same day, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss shot Hancock down, insisting quarantine measures and restrictions on travel would be in place for the foreseeable future, and “it would be very dangerous for a government minister to make promises about people’s summer holidays.”

✅ February 1: On a visit to Yorkshire, the PM was asked whether the U.K. could have a “happy and free summer.” Johnson said he was “optimistic” about the prospect of summer holidays, with the caveat that the vaccination program had to go well.

THE RIGHT MONK:   Second time's a charm for pavlova eating competition

❌ February 10, 8 a.m.: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps contradicted Hancock on the BBC’s Today program, warning: “People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now, not domestically or internationally.”

🤔 February 10, midday: Asked about the conflicting advice at the daily Lobby briefing, the prime minister’s official spokesperson produced another line, saying the decision on whether to book a holiday was “a choice for individuals.”

❌ February 10, 5 p.m.: In the evening press conference, the PM stressed it was illegal to go on holiday either at home or abroad and seemed to strike a more cautious tone: “I am afraid it is just too early for people to be certain about what we’ll be able to do this summer.”

THE RIGHT MONK:   WASH Severity Classification (WSC): Burkina Faso Pilot, December 2020

✅ February 10, 5 p.m.: At the exact same time as the PM’s presser, Hancock inexplicably once again told Tory MPs on a Zoom call that he’d booked a trip to Cornwall, and shared jokes with Devon MPs who wanted him to holiday in their constituencies, HuffPo reported.

🤔 February 11: Hancock told Times Radio there was no disagreement between him, the PM and the transport secretary on whether people could book summer holidays. “Why don’t you listen to all three of us who are all saying the same thing. Now? Yes, I know people are looking for certainty. But we do have to be patient. These are uncertain times, thanks to the pandemic.” They sure are.

Continue Reading at POLITICO