Asked PM at #LiaisonCommittee what Govt was doing to stop new South Africa variant spreading in the UK. Asked why people have been able to travel from SA to UK for last 4wks without being tested & can go on public transport.

PM didn’t know. Said he’d look at it ..1/6
PM told me pre-travel tests were coming in (Good)

But they arent in place yet (4 wks after we were warned on SA).

Other countries introduced those tests months ago. So I asked why the tests hadn’t been introduced in November as Spain, Greece & others did. No explanation ...2
PM refers to quarantine measures since 8 June. But @CommonsHomeAffs was told today of huge weaknesses in border & quarantine arrangements - 90% of passengers not even checked to see if they filled in the forms, even less follow up later on. Why wasn’t system strengthened? ...3
Asked what Govt was doing to prevent new Brazil variant spreading to the UK - we were warned about it 3 days ago.

Some confusion as PM seemed to announce that a Brazil travel ban was in place (it currently isn’t and he’d already said half an hour previously that it wasnt) ...4
Trouble is PM always seems to delay decisions on border measures. Did so last Spring, still doing so now. Likewise on Xmas/lockdowns/schools etc. PM always gives impression he’s delaying difficult decisions til last possible minute & making things worse. That’s not leadership ..5
The UK vaccine programme is crucial & is making important progress - we desperately need it to succeed. But that’s why we need to make sure new variants don’t undermine it. I urged PM to look again at Covid border measures UK needs in the light of these new, emerging strains 6/6

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More from @YvetteCooperMP

17 Nov 20
Serious & troubling letters from @PoliceChiefs & @NCA_UK to @CommonsHomeAffs on preparations for 1 Jan, outlining the security downgrade if no negotiated agreement, inc impact on public protection, serious crime & counter terror……
Police & border force check SIS2 criminal database 600m of times a yr. @PoliceChiefs says loss has “major operational impact.” The fallback is to use Interpol but that requires manual data entry & includes far fewer people & objects - “it will be slower & lack capability”
On overseas criminal records, if we lose access to the ECRIS database @PoliceChiefs warn that it will take much longer to check records (up from 6 days to 66 days) “impacting on public protection”
Read 10 tweets
4 Nov 20
Troubling @CommonsHomeAffs session today.

I asked Minister for Future Borders & Immigration what future border security checks will be in Jan if we lose access to the SIS2 criminal database currently used to check everyone.

Neither Minister nor officials cd tell us /1
Govt says we’re likely to lose access to SIS2 for border checks in Jan

But also says they will exclude more foreign criminals

I asked how they plan to do that if they have no idea who they are

Minister says they’ll check the database

Back to my question. Which database? /2
It matters. Senior police officers tell us often how vital SIS2 is in finding/stopping serious criminals, terror suspects, sex offenders at the border & within UK. We check it 600m times pa. So if we’ll lose access to SIS2 in Jan, surely Govt has work underway on replacement? /3
Read 4 tweets
26 Aug 20
2 senior civil servants gone over results fiasco but Gavin Williamson is still Education Secretary. Govt says he “sought assurances” it was all OK so it wasn’t his fault. What utter garbage. He was told what was wrong & he didn't sort it. This is his mess…
This is the Education Sec who was told in advance that private schools were benefiting at the expense of state sixth forms yet he still went ahead. It’s in the Ofqual document he will have been sent and will have read before the results were published…
This is the Education Sec who was told in advance that 30-50% of the A’level results were likely to be inaccurate with the algorithm, yet he still went ahead. Again, its in the Ofqual documents he will have been sent/have read before results were published
Read 7 tweets
5 Aug 20
1/ New @CommonsHomeAffs report finds that Govt decision to have no quarantine/border measures in mid March increased pace & scale of the pandemic in UK so that many more people caught virus. Serious mistakes made. Lessons shd be learned on what went wrong…
2/ In Feb, UK had some quarantine for Wuhan & self isolation measures for places like Iran & Italy. But that wasn’t extended to Spain or France, wasn’t made compulsory & on 13 March self isolation guidance was removed completely. Those were serious errors…
3/ Just as other countries were introducing stronger border measures (quarantine, screening etc) in March the UK was lifting them & had no border measures in place for 3 months. Fact that UK approach was so different shd have rung alarm bells for Ministers…
Read 11 tweets
15 Jul 20
1. For months we’ve been trying to find figs & science behind Govt quarantine policy, both in March when we had no quarantine & now.

Basic Q; how many people do Govt estimate are arriving in UK w Covid19? No answer again today. Why?

(A longer thread on today’s @CommonsHomeAffs)
2. Only figure Home Sec had today was 0.5% - but that figure is not what it seems (It’s not an estimate of the proportion of people arriving in UK who have Covid)
And it also doesn’t appear to have changed since March 23rd despite the huge changes in the pandemic since then
3. Here’s my previous attempts earlier in the session to get to the bottom of it;

Q. how many people do you estimate are currently coming into UK with Covid 19?

A. We don’t have that figure, it is held elsewhere in Govt
Read 10 tweets
22 Mar 20
I watched the Prime Minister’s press conference in despair. In a public health emergency communication and information saves lives. Yet time & again the Government keeps failing to push out a strong clear message to everyone. For all our sakes they urgently need to get a grip.
In a national emergency when lives depend on it the Prime Minister needs to ensure that strong, clear messages reach everyone on what they MUST NOW DO given the sheer gravity of what we face because we have a collective responsibility to save lives
Instead at the press conference the Prime Minister encouraged people to “follow the advice on social distancing.”
Read 10 tweets

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