Vaccine Passports on a Knife Edge | Ashley Karmanski

In recent days, we have heard more and more noises from the government, and politicians, regarding the introduction of vaccine passports.

The now seemingly inevitable introduction of these documents has been met with strong opposition inside the House of Commons, and in a lot of cases, by the general public. A petition on; currently stands at 333,185 signatures.

The petition reads:

“We want the government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/ immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine.

However, polling from Ipsos MORI has shown that a majority of the public are in favour of the vaccine passports. They asked 8,362 people if they were in favour of using vaccine passports and the majority were.

Although, when you look deeper into the polling, the results do vary. For instance; When asked about using them to travel abroad, or visit a sick/ elderly relative, 74-78% said that they were in favour. When asked about more everyday issues, the numbers dropped; To visit a soft play area 52% were in favour. To go to a pub or restaurant, 62% were in favour, and to visit a beauty salon/ hairdresser, only 56% were in favour.

Vaccine minster Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that parliament will get a vote on this issue, appearing on Times Radio, he said:

“We haven’t even got to the state where we’ve decided what we want to do domestically. If we do get to that place, then of course we’ll go to parliament for a vote.”

Although parliament on the whole, has supported the government’s emergency bills, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, may find this a bit more of a challenge.

Conservative MP David Davis, has said, he, and up to 40 other Conservative MP’s will be voting against the government on this issue. He said:

“This all hangs, ironically, on Sir Keir Starmer. If he sticks to his guns, as he said this is un-British, then the Prime Minister has a problem because there’s at least 40 MP’s who will vote against it on the Tory side, which means he’s lost his majority, but that all hangs on the Labour Party. We are not the sort of country where people just do as they are told, we haven’t been for centuries. Whitehall has always loved the idea of identity cards; it comes up with these ideas to fix problems that don’t exist.”  

The Labour party however, appear to be sitting on the fence on this issue. Shadow Health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth MP this morning appeared on Talk Radio. He was asked by the host, Julia Heartley-Brewer; “What is the Labour party, lead by Sir Keir Starmer going to do? Will you vote against vaccine passports?”

Ashworth replied:

“Uh, well let’s see what the government actually produce in terms of legislation. If you want people at mass gatherings, you are going to have to test people.”

However, an anonymous Labour source revealed:

“From what we are seeing, I think Keir will support the introduction of domestic vaccine passports.”

A leaked briefing to Labour MP’s does however indicate that Labour will not support the government as things stand. If this leak is accurate, then Boris Johnson would lose the vote.

In short, we know where the government stands, we know where the Liberal Democrats stand, but we still can’t be sure what the Labour parties’ position is.

One thing that is certain though, Labour will need to come down on one side or the other. This is a very important issue for everyone in the country, and for any politicians, or their respective party to abstain, would surely be seen as weakness, or playing politics by the public. 

Photo Credit.

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