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Opposition building against UK internal vaccine passport

It is expected that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson may approve a trial vaccine passport scheme on Monday, April 5, 2021.

  1. While a vaccine passport appears to be acceptable for international travel, such a requirement for internal activities is meeting with opposition.
  2. An internal passport would require certification to enter such places as pubs, theaters, nightclubs, and stadiums, for example.
  3. Prime Minister Boris Johnson may announce on Monday if an internal vaccine passport scheme is going to be implemented or not.

There is a cross-party rebellion underway – something which does not often happen in the UK – against this scheme with over 70 Members of Parliament (MPs), including 41 members of the ruling Conservative party, and peers signing a joint statement to take a stand opposing the COVID-19 UK internal vaccine passport.

Prominent signatories on the opposition statement included former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and some 40 members of the COVID Recovery Group – an informal alliance of rebel backbenchers who voted against the UK’s second lockdown.

The internal vaccine passport would make it mandatory for people to access venues such as shops, pubs, nightclubs, movie theaters, and stadiums as the country begins to ease its third set of lockdown restrictions.

Although no final decision has been made yet, there is still the expectation the PM Johnson will give the go-ahead to vaccine certificate trials starting with theatres and stadiums on Monday.

The joint statement issued by the Members of Parliament and peers reads in part: “We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses, or jobs.” The declaration was published with the backing of civil liberties groups Liberty, Big Brother Watch, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), and Privacy International.

Some of those who have signed the statement are concerned over the potentially dangerous precedent they believe COVID-19 vaccine passports would set for civil rights. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey MP, said: “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.”