Vaccine passports: Commentator hits out at 'outrageous' plan
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On Monday, the Prime Minister announced vaccine passports will be required by law in England for the first time in a bid to increase the Covid vaccination uptake among the younger generation. Mr Johnson said everyone wishing to attend a nightclub in the country from the end of September will be required to show proof of having received two vaccine jabs. He warned “other venues where large crowds gather” could also be made to adopt the checks, possibly paving the way for the plan to come into force at music concerts, sports events and theatre shows.
The Prime Minister was also tight-lipped on whether vaccine passports would be required in pubs, stressing this is not something he wants to enforce but made it clear it is an option open to the Government.
But Mr Johnson faces a major showdown in the House of Commons over the move, and it could be led by fierce critic Sir Keir Starmer.
A coalition of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, liberal Labour ministers and Liberal Democrat MPs are expected to oppose it in crunch Parliament votes over fears it could pave the way for ID cards.
But the backlash could largely depend on Labour leader Sir Keir whipping his own MPs to oppose the move, after previously claiming Covid passports went against the “British instinct”.
He stressed Covid status certificates in the UK could become a complex issue, and would scrutinise any Government proposals before deciding whether to oppose them.
But he warned in April: “My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.
“I think this is really difficult and I’m not going to pretend there’s a clear black and white, yes-no easy answer on this. It is extremely difficult.”
Sir Keir has yet to comment publicly on the latest proposals. Express.co.uk has contacted the Labour Party for comment.
The Liberal Democrats have already voiced their strong opposition against the Prime Minister’s plans for vaccine passports, and have vowed to vote against the proposals in the Commons.
Responding to the announcement from Mr Johnson, the Liberal Democrats Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael tweeted: “Utterly incoherent.
“Vaccine passports are illiberal and unworkable but even if they were not it makes no sense to open everything up for two months before imposing them.
“Chaos with the Conservatives in Government.
“Liberal Democrats will oppose these divisive plans.”
Speaking at a virtual press conference from his Chequers residence, Mr Johnson had said: “As we said last week, we do reserve the right to mandate certification at any point if it is necessary to reduce transmission.
“And I should serve notice now that by the end of September – when all over-18s will have had the chance to be double jabbed – we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.
“Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough.”
The announcement marks a major shift from the Prime Minister, who last week said it would be left up to companies to decide if they wanted to adopt such Covid status checks.
Details of the new plan show this also goes beyond the mandatory Covid passport scheme that was being considered by the Government earlier this year but was eventually scrapped two weeks ago.
That system would have enabled people to show a negative Covid test or proof of natural antibodies to gain entry to a venue.
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