UK threatens 10-year jail term for travellers who lie about where they’ve been
Ten years in jail for holidaymakers who lie.
New measures will come into force from Monday, where UK and Irish residents arriving in England from 33 “red list” countries will be charged £1,750 to be quarantined for 10 days in government-managed hotels/" 3142 target="_blank">hotel.
Anyone who conceals to UK border officials about visiting a “red list” country in the 10 days before their arrival will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
The new sentencing was criticised by former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption who said lower tariffs exist for sex offences.
Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Sumption said: “Does [Secretary of State for Health and Social Care] Mr Hancock really think that non-disclosure of a visit to Portugal is worse than the large number of violent firearms offences or sexual offences involving minors, for which the maximum is seven years?”
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said such a sentence was “entirely disproportionate”.
“The government should not be abusing the powers it has taken through parliament for this emergency to create offences, which are subject to that kind of penalty,” he said.
“My view is that good government is about proportionality and sounding off in this way with suggestions of draconian and completely disproportionate sentences for an offence is a mistake.”
However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended the sentence, explaining that the UK government’s concerns about new coronavirus variants being imported must be taken seriously.
“What we’re dealing with now are the variants and, with variants, we cannot risk it in these final stages – where we’ve got the vaccine rolled out – that we might end up with a difficulty from variations, although we think so far that we’ll be able to take care of them through the vaccines,” he told Sky News.
“And, because of that, we think… things like prison sentences for lying about being in one of those red list countries are appropriate.”
The following is the full list of countries included in the ‘quarantine hotels’ policy:
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)