Katy Balls

Tory MPs might not like No. 10’s quarantine policy – but the public do

Tory MPs might not like No. 10's quarantine policy – but the public do
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Boris Johnson is in the firing line today over his government's plan to impose a two-week quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK from Monday. The Prime Minister's policy was criticised by both Labour and Tory MPs during PMQs. When Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the details in the Chamber this afternoon, former ministers Liam Fox, Theresa Villiers, and 1922 committee chair Sir Graham Brady were among those who questioned the timing and the effectiveness of the new measures.

With a growing backlash building among MPs and industry, Patel is under pressure to publish the scientific advice behind the decision. However, there is one group that appears to be on No. 10's side: the general public. In new polling for Coffee House – conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies with a sample size of 1,500 – 63 per cent approve of the decision to ask travellers in the UK to self-isolate from 8 June. If anything, the issue is that it took so long in the first place with 67 per cent saying the policy should have already been implemented.

On the issue of whether – as planned – UK citizens ought to have to self-isolate for two weeks if returning from a holiday abroad this summer, 67 per cent say they should and the policy ought to apply to them. Air bridges – exemptions meaning quarantine free travel for low infection countries – do not have majority backing either. Of those surveyed, 41 per cent said they would not support air bridges at all. Meanwhile, 25 per cent would support an air bridge with New Zealand, 24 per cent with France, and 17 per cent backed an air bridge with Greece. Only 7 per cent would support an air bridge with the United States and 13 per cent with Italy. 

The findings come as trust in the government continues to fall. 46 per cent said no, they do not trust the UK Government to make the right decisions to safely lead the country out of the lockdown measures – with 40 per cent saying yes. 

With the government sticking by its quarantine policy despite intense criticism within parliament, today's poll suggests that the audience the government is paying attention to lies outside of Westminster.

Written byKaty Balls

Katy Balls is The Spectator's deputy political editor. She is also a columnist for the i paper.

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