To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he held with his Australian counterpart on the extent to which closed borders may potentially prevent British citizens in Australia from returning to the UK; and what assessment he has made of the ability of those British citizens to purchase commercial flight tickets in order to return to the UK.
Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 27 March, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.
We are proactively engaging commercial airlines and governments worldwide, including Australia, on keeping flight routes and transit hubs open to enable British nationals to return home. Our British High Commissioner in Canberra has written to the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on this issue. We are signposting British nationals to commercial flight options and continuing to explore new routes by which then can travel home. We have also set up an online registration tool for any British nationals in Australia who require our support. The Prime Minister last spoke to PM Morrison about the broader COVID-19 crisis on 14 March.