Friday evening UK news briefing: Grant Shapps ends traffic light system in travel rules overhaul

·6 min read
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

M25 protests | Climate protesters blocked another junction on the M25 this morning for the third time in a week. Watch as police took swift action against the group demanding measures on home insulation.

The big story: Shapps ends the traffic light system

If you have a holiday booked - or want to book one soon - this is the newsletter for you.

Rules for international travel will change from October 4, with a single red list and "simplified measures" for the rest of the world as well as the scrapping of pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated travellers to England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

In a major relaxation of the rules following mounting fury from the travel industry, the green and amber lists will be merged and the number of countries on the red list will be slashed.

Double-jabbed travellers will not have to take pre-departure tests or a PCR test on day two after their arrival in the UK.

They will instead be able to take cheaper lateral flow tests.

Stay informed on this breaking news in our liveblog.

However, Charles Hymas details how expensive PCR tests will remain for double-jabbed holidaymakers until the end of October.

Turkey, Egypt and the Maldives are among the eight countries to be removed from the red list.

This means that as of next Wednesday (September 22), Britons can visit them without facing hotel quarantine upon their return.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also be taken off the red list next week, in a boon for long-haul and winter sun destinations; but the ten-day hotel quarantine at a cost of £2,285 per person remains mandatory for countries still on the red list.

Here is an updated list of the countries where tight restrictions remain.

Gloom for unvaccinated

If you are vaccinated, this latest shift in Grant Shapps' border policy will be a welcome one – travel just got easier.

If you are not, presumably because you chose not to be, you might be pretty irate.

No-one who has not been double-jabbed can escape self-isolation upon their arrival back to the UK, regardless of which country they have come from.

Annabel Fenwick Elliott argues travel should not be used to coerce people into getting vaccinated.

Feeling like all these announcements are a lot to take in? Nick Trend has a summary of everything you need to know.

Gove pauses reform

The changes to travel rules were discussed when Cabinet ministers met this morning for the first time since the Prime Minister's reshuffle.

Boris Johnson gave his overhauled team a jubilant "half-time pep talk", and called on them to work together in delivering key manifesto pledges.

Michael Gove has wasted no time, pausing the long-awaited planning reforms, in a bid to quell massive unease from Tory backbenchers, in one of his first acts as Housing Secretary.

The minister, who is expected to receive a beefed up job title reflecting his Union and levelling up briefs, has halted plans to bring forward legislation.

He aims to review the plans in the hope of seeing off a rebellion from MPs. Read on for details.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Teenagers massacred in Myanmar

Myanmar's military junta massacred teenagers, mutilated their bodies and burned down homes as they raided Myin Thar village in their campaign to quell a renewed pro-democracy uprising, eyewitnesses told the Telegraph. Deadly violence has escalated once again over the past week in Myanmar, seven months after a sudden military coup. It follows a public call last Tuesday by a shadow government for a nationwide revolt or "people's defensive war" against military rule. Nicola Smith and Nandi Theint have this latest dispatch on the brutal violence.

Friday interview

The reality behind the breakfast TV sofa

The first women of British breakfast TV: Natasha Kaplinsky, Ulrika Jonsson and Anthea Turner - Mark Harrison; Styling Jodie Nellist
The first women of British breakfast TV: Natasha Kaplinsky, Ulrika Jonsson and Anthea Turner - Mark Harrison; Styling Jodie Nellist

Intense rivalries, naked ambition, full hair and make-up at 4am… Is breakfast TV really like The Morning Show? Former hosts Natasha Kaplinsky, Ulrika Jonsson and Anthea Turner reveal all to Lara Kilner

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: England tour to Pakistan in doubt

England's series to Pakistan could be called off this weekend over security fears after New Zealand's tour to the country was abandoned this morning just hours before they were due to play in Rawalpindi. A spokesman for the ECB confirmed a decision will be made over the next 48 hours on the tours by England men and women to Pakistan next month. In a further blow, Ben Stokes is a growing doubt to miss this winter's Ashes series, with England's tour to the West Indies in early 2022 considered a more likely time for his international return.

Editor's choice

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  2. Sally Solves | 'Greek odyssey took me to Luton and Romania after BA rejected my Covid test'

  3. Same-sex partners | Strictly should be congratulated for all-male pair – but is it fair?

Business briefing: Return to the office under threat

All employees will be able to request flexible working patterns when they start a new job, potentially derailing plans to bring workers back to offices in city centres. Millions of workers will be able to make such requests immediately under proposals set to be announced by the Department for Business. Read on for details. Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak is planning to rein in borrowing with a new set of fiscal rules that will bite over the next three years. Read what it means for next month's Budget.

Tonight starts now

Premiership Rugby | The new season kicks off tonight as Saracens, back in the top flight, travel to Bristol. The talk is about trials of new laws aimed at reducing the risk of injury and creating more attacking play. Austin Healey says ultra-physical forwards ruin rugby and outlines how the Premiership law changes will help fix that. Here is your club-by-club preview of the new season and Ben Coles ranks each team's new kits.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Can you help find this Christine Keeler portrait? | The long-lost work by Pauline Boty – aka 'the Wimbledon Bardot' – could be gathering dust in someone's attic. Jake Kerridge reports on the painting nobody has seen for more than five decades.

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