Monday 2 August 2021 11:29 am

Tory row erupts over government plans to start amber watchlist for travel

A government plan to bring in a watchlist for countries at threat of being put on the red travel list has been heavily criticised a growing group of Tory MPs.

The government is expected to make the announcement later this week in a move that some say will cripple the aviation and travel industry.

The government is considering putting countries like Spain, Italy and Greece on the amber watchlist – three of the most popular European destinations for British tourists.

Countries on the watchlist will be said to be at risk of going onto the red list.

Anyone coming to the UK from a red list country is forced to pay £1,750 for a 10-day hotel quarantine.

Conservative MP, and transport committee chair, said the amber watchlist would be a “big red flag” for would-be tourists and would lead to holiday bookings for these countries to “collapse”.

He told the BBC: “In my view, we don’t need any more uncertainty, complexity, or anxiety for passengers, or this beleaguered sector. It just needs clarity. I would urge the government not to do anything with it.”

It has also been speculated that Tory MPs are worried about their constituents’ holiday plans being cancelled.

Tory MP Henry Smith told the Telegraph that the “original traffic light system was easy to understand”.

“There is a clear set of criteria. If you add levels of complexity, you increase confusion and therefore discourage travel,” he said.

“It isn’t helpful in terms of passenger confidence.”

It comes after the Sunday Times reported yesterday that Rishi Sunak had written to Boris Johnson to tell him that the current travel rules are “out of step” with the rest of Europe and will damage the economy.

Aviation bosses have called for clarity on travel rules for months, with a recent letter from the bosses of Ryanair, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic calling for the reduction of “still onerous and increasingly disproportionate burden of testing on travellers”.

Labour party chair Anneliese Dodds said the government was in a “chaotic” state over the row and needed to provide data on Covid in other countries.

“It looks like yet again the government is in disarray even over that, some are for it and some are against it,” she said.

“Why can’t we provide holidaymakers with the data?

“I don’t understand why the Conservative government are so reluctant to do that.”

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