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Has the proposed UK travel ban been dropped? Have a read at the law

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Here’s a quick one for the lawyers amongst our readers.

This (PDF) is the full text of the new lockdown legislation which has just been published.

Having read this, admittedly not slowly over a number of hours, I cannot see any mention of a ban on leaving the United Kingdom.

Coronavirus

There are other restrictions which could arguably cover this – eg the list of reasons why you can leave your home does not include ‘go on holiday’ – but there is not a specific ban on travel. Perhaps there was a view that this would breach human rights legislation?

You can leave your home for work, so presumably driving to the airport and getting on an aircraft is OK. The Government, to be fair, has always said that this would be acceptable.

So … you would be committing an offence by leaving your home for a purpose which was not work-related or for any other reason on the list. However, travelling abroad is not, in itself, an offence. British Airways will not be committing an offence by having you on the aircraft and cannot be fined for doing so. There is also no requirement for you to prove to the airline that you are travelling for work.

Bizarrely, as the legislation is written, it seems that a homeless person can travel abroad for any reason. 2.5.3 makes it clear that a homeless person is committing no offence by not being in a home, and there are no restrictions on travelling to the airport or flying somewhere!

You are also allowed to leave home to view a residential property. This property could be outside the UK presumably.

Have a read for yourself and see what you think.

PS. The regulations also clarify that hotels can continue to do room service even though restaurants and bars are closed. Hotels can remain open and, looking online, many – at least in London – will.

PPS. 4.15.5 seems to imply that airport lounges can remain open and serve food and drink.

Comments (278)

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  • Alex W says:

    Of course you can’t fly willy nilly unless it’s essential for work. How many homeless people can afford to jump on a plane somewhere? Ridiculous article.

    • WaynedP says:

      On a bleak news day, I recognised and thoroughly enjoyed that tongue-in-cheek gem.

      As an observer not having been born in Britain, I would say that darkish, irrepressible and uplifting humour overwhelmingly characterises the “British way” (not just “English way”), if such a thing exists, rather than claims to any other traits.

      And long may that last !

      • Alex W says:

        1.2 million deaths so far worldwide – hilarious. Nobody should be encouraging unnecessary travel right now, tongue in cheek or otherwise.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You’re absolutely right there are about 1.5m deaths from road accidents globally a year. We should all stop travelling.

          • Callum says:

            So you think banning all forms of travel across the globe forever is equivalent to a one month partial lockdown? If not then I have no idea what point you’re trying to make?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Both Blunt instruments.

  • Christian says:

    I had a weekend stay at the IC Park Lane (6-8 November 2020), I enquired about whether the stay would go ahead, and initially, they said the hotel would remain open, provided it was a business stay. I then received a call yesterday afternoon confirming that they would in-fact be closing and not reopening again until December (or whenever the new rules permit reopening). My Free Weekend Night Ambassador voucher expires on the 1st December, so having been extended once already (by 6 months), I need to enquire about extending again, though the hotel said they would try and accommodate me regardless of what happens with the voucher!

    In the grand scheme of things, none of this is a problem, and I do look forward to the day I can freely travel again – whether in our own cities or to destinations I’ve yet to explore!

  • Sukes says:

    Given the interest in this stat instrument it’s worth highlighting that Hancock is currently scheduled to begin speaking on it in the commons around 12.50pm with 3hrs scheduled for the debate. There’s a live feed on parliament uk website or I’m sure it’ll be on bbc parliament.

  • pavioj says:

    Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
    Couldn’t be much clearer than that.

    • jc says:

      Surely once you’re outside the UK the UK has no authority to rule on what you may or may not do overnight in someone else’s country?

      • The real John says:

        Why not? It might not be illegal in that country, but you could certainly be prosecuted if / when you returned to the UK, at least if the CPS thought there was a public interest in prosecuting you

        • Mike says:

          Uhm, that’s not how criminal law works. Apart from crimes against humanity (is this one?), criminal law is eminently territorial in its jurisdictional scope. Imagine the consequences if it weren’t, even for the pettiest of offences.

          • will-h says:

            Not at all true. One that might be relevant to HfP readers who travel for business is the Bribery Act which applies worldwide for those with a connection to the UK. The law banning nuclear weapon explosions by British citizens worldwide is probably less likely to be important. 🙂

        • Peter Green says:

          What nonsense. UK law has no jurisdiction abroad, except for a very few specific areas, such as war crimes or complex international fraud and the like.

      • Char Char says:

        Yes exactly, some people are fear mongering

    • The real John says:

      This is advisory.

    • GeorgeJ says:

      You are not looking at the law, this came from the original justification of the legislation and has been dropped from the SI going before parliament today.
      Clearly a change of mind and a realisation that it was unenforceable.

  • Sam says:

    Still no clearer how I’m going to fare when attempting to permanently leave the country on November 21.

    It’s technically for work since I’m starting a new job out there but no idea how that’s interpreted, and I don’t actually start until January.

  • ChrisW says:

    The few people I know who had holidays booked during the lockdown #2 period have now cancelled them. They still wanted to travel but there was too much uncertainty over whether they would be stopped on the way to the airport (the luggage would have been a giveaway!), denied boarding, and would struggle to get home if their airline reduced services because of outbound demand.

    Surely if you were desperate to get around these rules you would have left since Saturday evening when the rules were announced, through to the end of today to ensure you could get out?

    • Paula says:

      There’s no problem having luggage in your car as you may be travelling for business, you’re assuming there will be roadblocks into the airports, were there last time – I’ve no idea?

  • ChrisW says:

    I’m keen to know if any H4P readers are escaping the UK for the lockdown period, and where they are headed? Not sure if it’s a genius, or terrible idea!

    • Sarah says:

      I flew to Barbados yesterday with the plan to stay until Dec, but a reward flight back booked on 14 Nov just in case. Flight was rammed, lots of people seemed to have brought forward their trips. I’m still undecided if it’s a genius or terrible idea, but the sea view I woke up to this morning is making it seem genius at the minute.

      • Nick_C says:

        “I’m still undecided if it’s a genius or terrible idea,”

        You will know in seven days. That’s the average incubation period.

    • Rich says:

      I’ve just come back from a week in Greece, returning the day that Lockdown 2.0 was announced.

      Had I not done that, I would have certainly been tempted to get away before the axe falls, for a week or two – assuming I could do so safety and legally. Even if the rules change and you end up quarantining on return, it is less of a chore to do so when the whole country’s in lockdown anyway.

      Obviously, you have to be flexible and have plans for getting home (or not) if things get difficult.

      • meta says:

        I came back from Crete on Sunday. I was looking at extending the stay for a week or so, but everything was shutting down as they normally do beginning of November. There was a threat of lockdown in Greece too, so in the end gave up as it might have been too costly.

    • B says:

      My wife and I are booked on a repatriation flight to Cayman via BA end of November. All the repatriation flights are fully booked and limited to one per week, so our hands are tied. She’s a Cayman national and we’ve been accepted by their government to home quarantine upon arrival.

      We’re fully intending to make the flight if it isn’t cancelled – both her grandparents have been very sick with covid and I’m sure we could fit in a property visit or two if we have to justify the trip.

      The legislature is quite loose though – it may be enough to be married to a foreign national considering repatriation for both of us has been approved.

      • Anna says:

        I might be wrong I’d assumed the repatriation flights were one-way tickets, in which case noone would argue with that. But if not, how long were you planning to stay for?

    • Always_in_the_air says:

      I left the UK a couple of days ago to sort a few things out in France, will probably go to Spain in a week or so for the duration. Not because Spain is better, but I have a place in the countryside and space, which just makes life easier!

    • Harry T says:

      Flew out yesterday to Tenerife. Staying here until 14th November. Originally he planned to fly out on the 8th Nov but didn’t want to take any chances.

    • Pierre says:

      Have done that during lockdown V1: 4-bedroom family home in Brittany with a huge garden, a massive bonus compared to a London flat, especially with 2 toddlers…having been made redundant, we stayed in France and are eyeing a few countries in our next move in a year or 2

    • Arun says:

      I flew to Barbados today (a week earlier than planned) and intend to spend the winter here on my remote worker visa. Similar experience to Sarah above – flight was packed as people were bringing their trips forward.

  • Always_in_the_air says:

    Question: How long does everyone think this will last?

    France and the UK are saying they’ll review after about a month. Personally I can’t see any relaxation before the new year! Would love to hear people’s thoughts.

    • meta says:

      BJ said hard deadline 2 Dec, but I don’t trust anyone. Personally, I think they will relax for Christmas period 1 week before and during new year then bring back some form of lockdown from January.

    • Pierre says:

      France just passed a law in the lower chamber of Parliament (Assemblee Nationale) that any extension of the lockdown after Nov 30th must be approved by both chambers of the Parliament (Assemblée Nationale and Sénat)
      There’s a massive feeling here that it will last until mid-December here, then relaxed for Christmas, with a prospective Lockdown V3 in January

    • ChrisW says:

      It will be relaxed for Christmas.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        It has to be relaxed for Christmas because if it isnt it’ll be ignored by vast swathes of the population with the knock on damage to the respect for future lockdowns, already struggling under lockdown fatigue and lack of example setting

    • WaynedP says:

      If you’re a pessimist, then hope for the best, but expect the worst.

      If you’re an optimist, then hope for the best, but expect the worst to be worse than imagined.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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