- Many Tory MPs are ‘horrified’ by proposals to introduce mandatory passports
- They say it will create a ‘two-class society’ and plan to block the plans
- Britons with both Covid-19 jabs can now add vaccine certificate to Apple Wallet
- ‘Get your NHS Covid Pass’ section of the NHS App leads to ‘domestic’ or ‘travel’
- ‘Domestic’ section will display name, date of birth and QR code confirming jabs
- ‘Travel’ section has same information along with nine extra details for each dose
- Lib Dems: Government has ‘introduced Covid ID Cards by stealth onto phones’
PUBLISHED: 29 July 2021
More than 50 Tory MPs are prepared to vote against the government’s ”misguided’ vaccine passport plan and said they are ‘horrified’ by the possible curbs on individual freedoms.
Boris Johnson had announced that certificates proving double vaccinations will be needed to enter nightclubs and potentially other venues and universities from the end of September.
But many Conservatives are prepared to rebel against the ‘completely unnecessary, bureaucratic and unworkable’ proposals, with as many as 50 MPs threatening to vote against them if they go to a vote.
Despite the huge scale of the revolt, there are signs it will be pointless as Labour has indicated it is unlikely to oppose the proposals if they include a provision for tests to be used as well as vaccine status.
It comes after the government was accused of introducing passports by stealth after the NHS App was updated with ‘domestic’ and ‘travel’ options for Britons to prove their vaccination status.
It has emerged that the government has signed a 12-month contract with a company to provide Covid passport technology. The contract with Entrust raises concerns about how long Britons will be forced to have the pass on their phones.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday it was a ‘smart policy’ for companies to insist employees are double-jabbed before they can return to offices.
One senior Tory MP said there is ‘almost universal objection’ in the party to the plans, with South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay branding the passports a ‘massive change to the relationship between the state and the individual’ that would be a ‘very dangerous step.’
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, told Sky News the move would be a ‘massive step and a misguided one’, saying: ‘The policy would discriminate against the young, against those who have medical or ethical reasons why they can’t be vaccinated and many ethnic minority groups.’
More than 40 Tories have signed a declaration expressing their opposition to the idea with campaign group Big Brother Watch.
Wellingborough MP Peter Bone said mandatory vaccine passports would create a ‘two-class society’ by ‘identity papers by the back door’.
Many in the party believe the plans would not pass and think the government will pull them before a Commons vote if they fear defeat.
Tory backbenchers have already accused the Prime Minister of trying to turn Britain into a ‘Beijing-style democracy’ amid a furious row over compulsory vaccine passports for universities.
It would mean students would only be allowed back on campus this September if they could prove they had been double-jabbed.
Deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tories, Steve Baker, said it was an ‘outrageous proposal’ that likely would not ‘do any good’.
He added: ‘Who are they now trying to coerce? Whose education are they now trying to deny?
‘I believe the government is in terrible danger of splitting the Tory Party irretrievably – after all we have been through with Brexit.’
Boris Johnson had announced that certificates proving double vaccinations will be needed to enter nightclubs and other venues from the end of September
More than 40 Tories have signed a declaration expressing their opposition to the idea with campaign group Big Brother Watch
It comes after the government was today accused of introducing Covid passports by stealth by updating the NHS App with ‘domestic’ options to show vaccination status.
The app was also updated to let users download the QR code proving they have had both doses of the Covid-19 jab to their Apple Wallet.
Developers also made a change so that people who received the Novavax jab as part of a formally-approved vaccine trial can now obtain the so-called ‘NHS Covid Pass’.
And those opening up the Covid section of the app can now go through to the ‘get your NHS Covid Pass’ – which presents two options of ‘domestic’ or ‘travel’.
Responding to news of the app’s update, the Liberal Democrats argued that the Government had ‘introduced Covid ID Cards by stealth onto the nation’s phones’.
It comes after the Government proposed making vaccine passports mandatory in nightclubs from September – and this could extend to students going to university.
If it is at least 14 days since you have received a second jab, the ‘domestic’ section of the app will display your name, date of birth and a QR code confirming your jabs.
The ‘travel’ section contains the same information along with nine extra details for each dose – including the date of vaccination, product, manufacturer, vaccine, bath number, disease, country of vaccination, issuer and the administrating centre.
Those opening up the Covid section of the NHS App can now go through to the ‘get your NHS Covid Pass’ – which presents two options of ‘domestic’ or ‘travel’
Dominic Raab: Vaccine passports will coax people to get jabbed
The NHS App is different to the separate NHS Covid-19 app which has been responsible for the ‘pingdemic’ and told 689,313 people to self-isolate last week.
Earlier this week, Labour leader Keir Starmer said Monday he’d be open to the prospect of government-enforced vaccine passports at large events, but cautioned against their use ‘on an every day basis.’
Sir Keir added that vaccines alone are ‘not enough’ to prevent the spread of Covid at sporting events and other large gatherings and should be accompanied by negative coronavirus tests.
‘I will look carefully at what the government puts forward,’ Mr Starmer said after last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said proof of double vaccination would be a ‘condition of entry’ beginning in September for nightclubs and other ‘crowded venues.’
The Lib Dems today called for a recall of Parliament over the updated app, with the party’s home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael saying: ‘The government has just committed to vaccine passports by stealth.
‘This deceitful move is deeply shameful. We now have a new ID card snuck onto our phones without even as much as a whisper from the government.
‘Just this morning, Ministers on TV and radio were flapping about when asked simple questions how this would actually work. Now it is on all our phones.’
He added that getting to the vaccine passport means having to ‘type and click through a bunch of options’, adding: ‘Just think of the faff getting into hospitality businesses, who don’t want it and can’t afford to pay staff to police it.
The ‘travel’ section contains the same information as ‘domestic’ along with nine extra details for each dose – including the date of vaccination, product, manufacturer, vaccine, bath number, disease, country of vaccination, issuer and the administrating centre
This is what appears in the Apple Wallet section of your phone once you’ve added the pass
‘The Conservatives are no strangers to a U-turn. They should have no problem with doing the right thing and scrapping vaccine passports for good.
‘At least when Tony Blair tried to introduce ID cards he put a bill to Parliament, this lot won’t even open up Parliament to debate it. They must recall Parliament now if they are serious about this.’
The NHS Covid Pass is available to adults over two weeks after having both jabs, or after having a negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test within 48 hours.
The Pass can also provide proof of natural immunity from a positive PCR test up to 180 days from the date of the positive test after self-isolating.
The text about the latest update on the Gov.uk website today said: ‘Updated to reflect that proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test can be used to demonstrate Covid-19 status when travelling abroad.’
It added: ‘The NHS Covid Pass can be stored in the AppleWallet when using an iPhone or iPad; and those who received the Novavax vaccine as part of a formally approved vaccine trial, can now obtain the NHS Covid Pass.’
Also today, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today said it was a ‘smart policy’ for companies to insist employees are double-jabbed before they can return to offices.
He said he ‘can understand’ why firms would want to adopt such a stance, but insisted he does not favour the ‘stick approach’ of staff being told to return to town and city centres because some people have ‘understandable anxieties’.
His comments came as Downing Street signalled it is not planning a campaign to encourage more workers to ditch working from home.
The final stage in Boris Johnson’s lockdown exit roadmap saw the Government lift its work from home instruction.
Young adults are now trying to get their second Covid vaccine early so they can go on holiday without having to quarantine, GP says
Young people are trying to get their second jabs early so they can go on holidays abroad, a GP has said.
People travelling to amber list countries can return to the UK without quarantining for ten days, if they are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before reentry.
Currently Britons have to wait eight weeks between doses — but millions of younger adults have still only had one jab.
Professor Sam Everington, chair of the NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said ‘a lot of people’ are trying to get their second doses quicker so they can go on holiday.
Some youths have taken to social media to share locations of pop-up clinics offering second jabs with as little as a four week gap.
However, ministers have stressed it is up to businesses and staff to decide how and when to go back to offices.
Reports suggest that some US tech giants like Netflix and Google are going to make proof of vaccination compulsory for staff to return.
Asked if he believed such a move is a good idea, Mr Raab told Sky News: ‘We want everyone to be double-jabbed.
‘I can understand why employers think that that would be a smart policy or approach to encourage, whether or not there should be hard and fast legal rules I think we need to look at carefully. But our message overwhelmingly is get the jab.’
The Foreign Secretary said he is not in favour of forcing staff to return to the office.
‘I certainly think that we should be encouraging young people to get the vaccine, making sure the work places are Covid secure, a confident environment for people to return to,’ he said.
‘Certainly I know this as an employer in the FCDO, and I have got a huge network internationally as well as domestically, what I want to do is build up confidence rather than, if you like, take a stick approach and say you have got to get back into the office because people are still feeling their way and people have understandable anxieties.’
The Government is no longer telling people to work from home but it is also not actively encouraging employees to return to their old commutes.
Boris Johnson suggested yesterday that vaccine passports could be needed across a range of mass events, as the prospect of their widescale use moved closer.
The Prime Minister said that getting a jab would ‘help, not hinder’ when people were travelling abroad or attending large gatherings in future.
The Government announced last week that proof of double vaccination will be a ‘condition of entry’ to clubs and other busy venues from September.
But yesterday Mr Johnson appeared to give a clear hint at the future direction of policy, suggesting the documents could also be needed for a range of events.
Mr Johnson has also confirmed that self-isolation rules are ‘nailed on’ to end on August 16 for the double jabbed, bringing hope of an end to the ‘pingdemic’ chaos.
From this date, the fully vaccinated will not have to stay indoors even if someone in their household gets the virus. They will also not have to take a test.
The Prime Minister said the jab rollout should allow for a ‘very, very strong’ economic recovery in the second half of this year.
The developments came a day after a senior minister said the vaccine success story meant Covid’s grip on the UK was ‘all over bar the shouting’.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘The NHS COVID Pass has been available for use in England on a voluntary basis since 19 July as part of Step 4 of the Roadmap.
‘Businesses, events and venues have been encouraged to use the COVID Pass to help reduce transmission of COVID-19.
‘Information about the COVID Pass was updated on the NHS app ahead of Step 4 to support this.’
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