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Grant Shapps breaks ranks to book summer holiday abroad

The Transport Secretary says the relaxation of Foreign Office travel advice means overseas holidays are now possible.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has booked a summer holiday abroad (Yui Mok/PA)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has booked a summer holiday abroad (Yui Mok/PA)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has booked a summer holiday abroad (Yui Mok/PA)

Grant Shapps has become the first senior politician to break ranks and declare he is taking a summer holiday abroad this year.

The Transport Secretary said he and his wife Belinda had decided to take advantage of the relaxation of Foreign Office guidance on non-essential overseas travel.

“My wife looked at all of these new changes that were made and has now booked a break for the first time for a couple of years,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Senior politicians had previously been queuing up to indicate they would be staying in the UK after the coronavirus pandemic threw international travel plans into disarray.

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Boris Johnson has said he is planning a ‘staycation’ this year (Steve Parsons/PA)

Boris Johnson has said he is planning a ‘staycation’ this year (Steve Parsons/PA)

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Boris Johnson has said he is planning a ‘staycation’ this year (Steve Parsons/PA)

Earlier this week Boris Johnson – who spent new year in the Caribbean with his fiancee Carrie Symonds – confirmed he had opted for a “staycation”.

“This country is uniquely blessed with fantastic places to holiday, whether coastal or otherwise,” he told reporters on Monday.

“And I am certainly going to be doing that, but I won’t necessarily tell you where at this stage.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also chosen to enjoy the attractions of the UK while Chancellor Rishi Sunak has let it be known that he too has decided not to venture abroad.

As far back as May, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced he would be remaining in the UK, amid fears that foreign holidays would be off the cards completely this year.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will be holidaying in the UK (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will be holidaying in the UK (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will be holidaying in the UK (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Shapps had previously warned that anyone booking a holiday for August would be taking a chance, but he told the Today programme: “Of course, since that time the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been able to change their travel advice.

“We have established air bridges or international travel corridors to a number of different countries allowing that to happen.

“These are personal choices but we have issued guidance now for airlines to ensure that people can travel in a Covid-safe manner as well.

“So there is much more structure in place now as we approach the summer.”

PA