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Point of Order

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 22 April 2021

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am grateful to be able to raise this point of order in relation to the operating of the quarantine exemptions process. An effective quarantine system is vital to protecting our borders, but there has to be some consideration and compassion for those who are vulnerable, who have disabilities or who have complex health conditions and have medical evidence to prove it. There has been little opportunity to debate these exemptions. This week, guidance appeared on the Department of Health website, but the Commons Library confirms that there has been no written or verbal statement regarding this guidance, which we need to support our constituents’ cases.

Despite representations with medical evidence, one of my constituents with complex health conditions who was forced to quarantine alone ended up being rushed to hospital over Easter. Doctors there said that she should not have been in a hotel at all. I now have a 16-year-old constituent, Ms Malik, who went urgently to visit her ill father in Dubai while her mother was at home with her sisters. She has now been stuck in Dubai for weeks, terrified to return. She is a minor, and it is not safe for her to quarantine in a hotel on her own; nor would she be allowed to by law. Her father is in Dubai, and her mother has two other children to look after. She has no one who can quarantine with her. She has a history of self-harming and her GP has asked that she be allowed to self-isolate at home with protections. She is due to come back on Saturday. We had first a rejection and since then nothing but delays and a lack of compassion and support from the Department of Health.

Could I therefore ask your advice, Madam Deputy Speaker, on what process the Government are following? How experienced are the staff making those decisions? I would be grateful to put this on record and seek advice so that we can scrutinise the Government on what is going on, including with those who are fasting due to Ramadan not getting food at the right times, so that there can be some accountability and support for our constituents.

I thank the hon. Lady for her courtesy in giving notice of her point of order. She raised a number of issues about details that I am not in a position to answer, but she is an experienced member of the House and knows the various ways in which she can question Ministers. If there is any doubt about that, she can consult the Table Office. She has obviously made her concerns known about these important matters and cases and brought that to the attention of the House. She has put it on the record. With regard to further information or statements that may be made, I am sure the Treasury Bench will have heard her view that she would like that to happen.