Welcome to the facts! Andrew Neil update on French ban on Brits as confusion soars
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The Government is seeking urgent clarification after France banned UK nationals from travelling by car across the country to homes in other European Union states. Andrew Neil tried to shed some clarity on the issue when he tweeted this morning that “The French government says it has no information about these claims and Eurotunnel has deleted its tweets. Welcome to the facts. So far!”
He later clarified that Eurotunnel Le Shuttle’s Twitter account still had an update dated December 28, pointing to the French government website.
He wrote: “Update. Though @LeShuttle has deleted related tweets it still has a pinned tweet about new restrictions on UK nationals from `Dec 28. It then gives a link to French government website, which is dated Dec 18 with no updates of rules since then.”
Journalist John Lichfield also blasted the French government over the confusion.
He tweeted: “This is over the top and out of order. Even the previous pre-Christmas French rules restricting UK travel are hard to justify now that France has more new cases daily than the UK.
“Even the French government now seems uncertain what the rule is. Interior ministry officials are saying Brits who have permanent EU residency CAN cross France by road so long as they prove their status. Eurotunnel saying otherwise. Official clarification needed.
“The French road transit ban on UK citizens with permanent residence in other EU countries may not stand. There are differing interpretations of the rules within Fr administration/ govt. Efforts are being made to sort it out today.”
Non-essential travel from the UK to France has been prohibited since December 18 in a bid to limit the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, but several exemptions have been in place.
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The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office updated its travel advice for France to state: “The French government have indicated that UK nationals travelling from the UK who are not resident in France will not be permitted to transit France to return to their country of residence unless they are travelling by air.
“We are urgently seeking further clarification from the French government, and in the meantime advise UK nationals returning to other European countries via France to check with their carrier before travelling.”
This will affect those who planned to avoid air travel to return to their homes in the EU after spending Christmas with friends and relatives in the UK.
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Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, which operates vehicle-carrying trains between Folkestone and Calais through the Channel Tunnel, said the decision was made by the French government on Tuesday.
It advised passengers to visit the website of the French embassy in the UK, although its travel information has not been updated since December 20.
The UK withdrew from the European Union on January 31 2020, although a transition period was in place until the end of that year.
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