Opposition to domestic vaccine passports appears to be growing in the Commons. More than 70 MPs – from differing political parties – have voiced their concern over the introduction of “discriminatory” Covid IDs. Katy Balls in the Spectator has the story.
As Boris Johnson prepares to deliver an update on Monday on Government plans for immunity passports and international travel, the Prime Minister is already facing a parliamentary backlash. More than 70 MPs have voiced their concern over the use of “divisive and discriminatory” immunity IDs in England. The cross-party group opposing ranges from Iain Duncan Smith and Steve Baker to Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott.
While the Government insists no final decision has been taken, the expectation in Government is that immunity IDs are coming. MPs on the various “listening exercises” Michael Gove has hosted this week, came away thinking immunity passports are a done deal – no matter what they make of them. There’s also a sense that they could underpin any easing. MPs interested in the social distancing review are being directed to the immunity certificate review. This suggests ministers view the way to ending social distancing as showing one’s Covid status.
The cross-party group of politicians has signed a pledge not to support the introduction of domestic Covid passports. Sky News has more details on the pledge’s signatories.
The signatories to the pledge include leading Tory Covid rebels such as Mark Harper and Steve Baker, who run the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of Conservative MPs, ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former cabinet ministers Esther McVey, Andrew Mitchell and Sir John Redwood.
Another of the Conservative signatories, Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said: “Covid-status certification would be divisive and discriminatory.
“With high levels of vaccination protecting the vulnerable and making transmission less likely, we should aim to return to normal life, not to put permanent restrictions in place.”
A 20-strong group of Labour MPs has signed the pledge, including former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Labour peer Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sits as an independent MP, have also joined the campaign.
“International travel is a luxury but participating in your own community is a fundamental right,” said Baroness Chakrabarti, who used to run civil liberties and human rights group Liberty.
“So internal Covid passports are an authoritarian step too far.”
Almost all Liberal Democrat MPs have signed the pledge, with their party leader Sir Ed Davey having this week branded the use of Covid passports within the UK as “illiberal” and “unworkable”.
“As we start to get this virus properly under control we should start getting our freedoms back, vaccine passports – essentially Covid ID cards – take us in the other direction,” he said.
The Spectator’s report is worth reading in full.