Government 'developing' air bridges, Prime Minister confirms, after Tories revolt over quarantine plans

Cat Neilan
Boris Johnson speaking today

The Government will “certainly be developing” the concept of air bridges or “travel corridors” in the hope of moving away from a blanket quarantine, Boris Johnson has said. 

The Prime Minister was quizzed about the new 14-day measures, which are due to start on June 8 and run until June 28 at the earliest. 

At the daily Downing Street press conference he said: "On the air corridors, I don't want to go into the negotiations we are having but, clearly, we are discussing with our partners around the whole of Europe about what could be done."

He later referred to them as “travel corridors” to countries with similar or lower infection rates, adding: “We will certainly be developing that as we go forward."   

Earlier today Priti Patel fended off criticism from several senior Conservative MPs as she set out the Government's plans for a blanket approach to quarantine. 

She said: "It is really important for the British public and members to put this into perspective.

"We are in a national health emergency right now. This isn't about the inconvenience of certain regulations and measures - we are here to make sure we protect public health first and foremost."

But Tory backbenchers including former ministers Liam Fox and Theresa Villiers, and Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee, questioned both the timing and the approach of the new measures. 

During an earlier session, with Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst, former Prime Minister Theresa May took aim at the proposals, saying: "Aviation supports a million jobs in the UK - 114,000 in aerospace, 1,700 for my constituents. International air travel is necessary for trade, without it there is no global Britain.

"So instead of bringing in measures to close Britain off from the rest of the world, why is the Government not taking a lead in developing an international aviation health screening standard to save jobs and ensure Britain is open for business?"