MP Gwynne hits out at 'Stanley Johnson clause' in new travel restrictions

Denton MP Andrew Gwynne has hit out at the government for "inserting a Stanley Johnson clause" into new coronavirus regulations set to come into force next week. 

Among a list of specific "reasonable excuses" to leave the UK will be to go abroad in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property. 

Attempting to take a holiday abroad will also result in a £5,000 fine and protests will be considered a permitted exception to the ban on mass gatherings, as part of the new restrictions. 

MPs will vote on the laws on Thursday and they will be introduced on Monday 29 March if they are approved. 

But Labour MP Gwynne has slammed the travel exemption to prepare a second home for sale or rent. 

He's quoted in an article in The Guardian as saying: "For hardworking families facing the prospect of missing out on summer holidays, it will stick in the craw that the government has inserted a ‘Stanley Johnson clause’ to Covid rules that allows people to come and go if they have property abroad … It seems it’s still one rule for them and another for the rest of us." 

Last year, Stanley Johnson - father to Prime Minister Boris Johnson - defended travelling to his villa in Greece, at a time when government guidelines stated people should avoid all but essential travel, by saying he was making the property "COVID-proof" for letting.

Foreign holidays are currently not allowed under the "stay at home" rule, which would end on Monday. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that restrictions on travelling abroad were necessary to guard against the importation of large numbers of cases and new variants which might put the vaccine rollout at risk.

The PM warned on Monday that the UK should be "under no illusion" that it will feel the effects of a rising number of cases around Europe.

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