Grant Shapps aware travel rule change possible ahead of Spain trip

Grant ShappsImage copyright

The transport secretary decided he had to remain in Spain and observe quarantine restrictions in the UK to avoid a possible public backlash, it is understood.

Grant Shapps flew out on Saturday morning aware that a quarantine requirement could be imposed on Sunday.

It’s understood Mr Shapps felt he could not use inside information to return to the UK before it came into force.

On Monday, Michael Gove said he had decided to cancel a planned holiday.

The Cabinet Office minister was due to visit one of the Balearic Islands after the rule change.

“I know there will be other people who’ll be much worse affected than me, and I do strongly sympathise with the situation in which they find themselves,” he said.

“But we all recognise that public health comes first,” he added.

“Whilst self-isolation for 14 days can be difficult, everyone will want to do the right thing.”

Quarantine measures apply to all those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Majorca and Ibiza.

It is not known where Mr Shapps is staying, but he has said he will comply with the 14-day quarantine rule upon his return.

A source close to Mr Shapps said he had decided to “suck it up”, the BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith reported.

Exemption talks ongoing

A UK government source has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Spain about exempting the Balearics and Canaries from the rules.

Ministers discussed the rising infection rate in parts of Spain on Friday night.

Once in Spain, Mr Shapps took part in a meeting with other UK ministers at which it was agreed to impose the restrictions.

The requirement came into force on Sunday.

More than 900 cases of coronavirus were reported in Spain on Friday, and the country’s officials are warning of fears of a second spike.

Another Tory MP, Minister for London Paul Scully, has been affected by the changes.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed Mr Scully was in Lanzarote and would be isolating on his return to the UK.


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