The decision to travel to amber list countries is a “personal responsibility”, a minister has said.
But skills minister Gillian Keegan echoed the PM’s warning yesterday that they are “not somewhere where you should be going on holiday”.
Thousands of people have reportedly travelled to destinations on the amber list since the ban on foreign holidays was lifted on Monday.
More than 150 flights are reported to have left on Monday to places such as France, Greece, Spain and the US.
Amid confusion over the government’s position on holidays, Boris Johnson said yesterday that travel to amber list countries had to be for “some pressing family or urgent business reason”.
Asked about travel to amber list countries this morning, Ms Keegan told Sky News: “The British public have been amazing both in getting the vaccine and, you know, adhering to all the lockdown rules…But, you know, this first step is the first step in the next stage of the journey. And we think it’s the right step.”
On the amber list, she added: “This is guidance from the government. You know, we haven’t we haven’t legislated to ban people from going on holiday.
“And as with many of these things that we’ve had throughout the pandemic, this has been about really relying on the great British public to be sensible and looking at the guidance that we put in place and taking their own decisions.”
But she cautioned: “We wouldn’t advise going on holiday to the amber list countries.”
On Tuesday, when asked why the government dropped £5,000 fines for people found to be going on holiday to amber list countries on Monday, the prime minister’s spokesman said the country was moving to a different stage of the epidemic, one in which people should take personal responsibility for their actions.
“We are working with the travel industry and others on this. All of us have a personal responsibility to protect one another as we cautiously reopen international travel,” the spokesman said.
“That is why it is important when proceeding to go on something like a holiday people stick to the green list.
“We are moving to a situation where the public can take responsibility for their actions. I think it is important to stress that by and large that is what we are seeing.”
A health minister risked sowing confusion when he indicated in the House of Lords that people should not be going abroad full stop.
“Travelling is dangerous. That is not news to us or to the people who get on those planes in the first place,” Lord Bethell said.