What is the fine for going on holiday? Penalty for travel explained - and what is the ‘Stanley Johnson clause’

Strict rules are to be introduced to prevent people embarking on holidays while travel restrictions are in place

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 11:06 am
People who go on holiday during lockdown restrictions could be slapped with a £5,000 fine (Getty Images)

A ban on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse is included in new coronavirus laws coming into force on 29 March.

Those leaving the England “without a reasonable excuse” will be punished with a fine under the new legislation.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, who deciphers the lockdown rules on Twitter for the public, said: “Previously, the ‘holiday ban’ which the government had advertised was assumed rather than explicit – because going on holiday wasn’t a reasonable excuse, it was assumed you couldn’t be outside of your home to do so. But now it is explicit.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What are the rules?

The legislation for restrictions over the coming months, as the Government sets out its road map for coming out of lockdown, was published on Monday.

Entitled the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, the laws come into force on March 29.

According to the legal document: “The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).”

The law says no-one may “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom, or travel to, or be present at, an embarkation point for the purpose of travelling from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without a reasonable excuse.

How much is the fine?

It suggests anyone who breaks such rules could face a £5,000 fine.

There is also a £200 fixed penalty notice for failing to fill in a travel declaration form – giving person details and reason for travel – for those planning to leave the UK.

Who is exempt from the fine?

The travel ban does not apply to those going to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.

Exemptions also apply including for those needing to travel for work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they are moving, selling or renting property, for some childcare reasons or to be present at a birth, to visit a dying relative or close friend, to attend a funeral, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a close relative, for medical appointments or to escape a risk of harm.

What is the Stanley Johnson clause?

Overseas travel in connection with foreign homes will be permitted under coronavirus rules to be voted on by MPs.

Under the rules people leaving England for a foreign holiday could face a £5,000 fine but an exemption dubbed the “Stanley Johnson clause” will allow trips for the “purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property”.

The Prime Minister’s father was criticised last July after it emerged he had travelled to Greece to visit his mountain villa despite Government advice urging Britons against all but essential international travel.

He argued that he was on “essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season”.

Labour MP Andrew Gwynne told the Guardian: “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 one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”

When can I go on holiday?