Minister abruptly ends GMB interview over ‘amber list’ travel rules

‘Oh he’s off!’

Eleanor Sly
Friday 21 May 2021 12:49 BST
Minister abruptly ends GMB interview over ‘amber list’ travel rules

A Good Morning Britain interview with Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland came to an abrupt end when Mr Buckland walked off, after a heated discussion with hosts Ranvir Singh and Kate Garraway.

The minister was being questioned on amber list countries, with over 250,000 people expected to leave the UK for countries on this list in the next five days.

When questioned, Mr Buckland explicitly said “Amber is a no”, which led to Ms Ranvir pressing him over why we don’t just have red or green options.

Ms Singh responded: “A lot of people are booking new holidays. The issue is, of course, what is the point of an amber list?

“I really struggle to understand this. Why not just have a green list and a red list so people know go or don’t go?

“What is the point in dangling this carrot of countries that might or might not be green in two weeks’ time?”

Ms Singh went on to add that people were being put in a difficult position of having to choose between losing money or breaking the law which she called “outrageous.”

The Lord Chancellor answered, somewhat skirting round the question and saying that he thinks “having an amber system is sensible.”

Ms Garraway interrupted, him: “Why don’t you just answer Ranvir’s question? Because I think that’s what is at the heart of people’s concern.”

The exchange began to get increasingly more heated with Mr Buckland saying that he feels it is “right to have [amber], rather than the binary system, you have that middle tier which does allow for some essential travel.”

Ms Singh responded: “I think that’s a complete neglect of the reality!” and accused Mr Buckland of shying away from the initial question.

“We shall have to leave it there, because we have asked you several times for you to explain the relevance of the amber list and people at home can decide whether they are satisfied or not with your answers,” she added.

This was clearly enough for Mr Buckland who said: “Well if you could let me get a word in edgeways, then I would have given an answer, thanks, thank you,” before removing his microphone, picking up his Pret coffee and getting out of his chair.

Currently, Britons who travel to countries on the amber list are required to isolate for 10 days on returning to the UK. They can do this at home, rather than paying to stay in a quarantine hotel, as people coming from red list countries must do.

The amber list has been causing confusion as it is legal to travel to countries on it, yet frowned upon. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that trips to an amber list country should be kept for “some pressing family or urgent business reason,” yet with many people booking holidays to these countries there has been significant confusion.

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