Great Britain

Tory revolt threatens Boris Johnson’s vaccine passport plans

A Conservative revolt is threatening Boris Johnson’s plans to introduce domestic vaccine passports to gain entry to domestic venues and events.

Downing Street is pushing for vaccine passports to be required for entry into large-scale events – amid fears that allowing large numbers of unvaccinated people in an enclosed space could spread the virus.

But Andrew Bridgen, one of the 43 Tories who previously signed a declaration opposing vaccine passports, accused the Conservative Party of “trying to aggressively coerce young people” into getting coronavirus jabs.

The MP for North West Leicestershire said members needed to debate the “threat” of British people having to show proof of their vaccine status to gain entry to domestic venues and events.

Speaking to LBC radio on Sunday, he said: “I think if the government is serious about the threat of bringing in domestic vaccine passports, then of course Parliament should be recalled. This is a very serious infringement on people’s liberties, it is basically unprecedented in this country, and I and a number of colleagues would oppose it.”

He continued: “I think it is a very blunt instrument, to threaten people with domestic Covid passports. I personally don’t think it would get through the House of Commons in any event and that’s why the government has moved on to this ‘carrot’ inducements for young people.”

He predicted a vote on vaccine passports in the Commons would result in an “embarrassing defeat” for Boris Johnson’s administration.

In July, more than 40 Conservatives signed a declaration by campaign group Big Brother Watch saying they are opposed to using “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs”.

Tory grandee Sir David Lidington said introducing a “government certificate of approval” to access certain events would set a “dangerous precedent”.

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “I’m much more cautious about the government laying down a law that people should actually have access to particular events in civil society only if they’ve got some sort of government certificate of approval.

“I think that’s a pretty dangerous precedent and it also raises all sorts of really difficult practical problems about implementation. I mean, whose responsibility is it to actually carry out these checks? What sanctions do they have against an individual who resists having a check?”

He added that he thought there were “better ways of persuading young people to take up the vaccine” than denying them entry to nightclubs.

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