Politics

Boris Johnson presses for easing of Australia travel ban to save Ashes


Boris Johnson has pressed his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to lift the Australian travel ban on vaccinated UK adults in time to save this winter’s Ashes tour.

The bar on entry to all British nationals was on the agenda when the prime minister met Mr Morrison for dinner in US capital Washington on Tuesday evening.

England’s cricket team is facing a revolt by players who are threatening to refuse to travel Down Under if their families cannot come with them.

Several senior players who are also taking part in the IPL and the T20 World Cup are reported to be unhappy at the prospect of being away from their partners and children for four months.

The team are to be allowed to enter Australia under rules which permit entry to individuals travelling under “exceptional circumstances”. Also unable to visit is Lord Ian Botham, recently named Mr Johnson’s trade envoy to the country.

But their loved ones are not being offered an exemption from regulations which currently block entry to all except Australian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate families or those who have been in New Zealand for the previous 14 days.

The UK this month announced it will send 4 million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to Australia to help accelerate a sluggish jab programme, which has so far seen only 38 per cent of residents receive two doses.

The five-test series is due to begin on 7 December and last until 18 January.

Also discussed at the talks over dinner at the Australian ambassador’s residence in Washington was the recently-announced AUKUS defence partnership, which will see the UK participate in a programme to provide Canberra with 12 nuclear-powered submarines to enhance Western presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders dined on Australian delicacies, including zucchini flowers stuffed with haloumi and goat’s cheese, radish salad and basil emulsion Australian wagyu beef, truffle polenta fried, broccolini and jus with Barossa Valley shiraz wine.

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