Grant Shapps is in the frame over travel shambles

Grant Shapps is in the frame over travel shambles with Transport Secretary at centre of vicious briefing war over collapse of new holiday alert list plan

  • Grant Shapps under fire over collapse of plans for new travel alert list
  • The Transport Secretary being rounded on over the ‘amber shambles’ idea
  • Treasury figures also blame Department for Transport for leaking letter from Rishi Sunak to the PM

Grant Shapps was at the centre of a vicious Whitehall briefing war last night following the collapse of plans to create a new travel alert list.

Cabinet sources rounded on the Transport Secretary over the policy – dubbed the ‘amber shambles’ – which had brought government travel policy into disrepute.

In another twist, senior figures at the Treasury blamed the Department for Transport for leaking a letter in which Rishi Sunak warned the Prime Minister that ‘draconian’ travel restrictions were damaging a vital industry. 

Grant Shapps was at the centre of a vicious Whitehall briefing war last night following the collapse of plans to create a new travel alert list

The recriminations followed the scrapping of the ‘amber watchlist’ by Boris Johnson on Monday.

Approved by the Cabinet’s Covid operations sub-committee last week, the list would have warned travellers that amber destinations such as Spain were at risk of being placed on the red list, with serious quarantine implications. 

Ministers are said to have agreed the plan would give travellers more ‘transparency’ and help them to make informed decisions.

But the idea, which was never formally announced, prompted a backlash from the travel industry and Tory MPs.

Mr Shapps was widely reported to have opposed the proposal over the weekend. But some sources yesterday said he had been the first to float the idea. 

In another twist, senior figures at the Treasury blamed the Department for Transport for leaking a letter in which Rishi Sunak warned the Prime Minister that ‘draconian’ travel restrictions were damaging a vital industry

One said: ‘The Department for Transport came up with this policy, briefed it, briefed against it, then blamed the Prime Minister.’ 

Another said: ‘There are a fair few people in government who are p***ed off with Shapps over this.’

Allies of Mr Shapps declined to comment yesterday. But one source said other ministers had floated the idea of an amber watchlist first. 

Transport insiders have rejected suggestions they had any involvement in the leaking of Mr Sunak’s letter to the Sunday Times, which led to renewed tensions between No 10 and No 11.

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