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'Costly and impractical': Labour attacks PM's plans for Covid vaccine passports
21 July 2021, 17:29 | Updated: 21 July 2021, 17:39
Boris Johnson may face a revolt over plans to introduce Covid passports for nightclubs and crowded events.
The plans, which would be put in place for the autumn, received a backlash after he announced them on ‘Freedom Day’ – which was supposed to see almost all coronavirus laws get scrapped in England.
It was said previously that businesses and venues could decide for themselves if they would use proof of vaccination or a negative test as a condition of entry.
But Mr Johnson has announced proof of vaccination will become compulsory for some venues.
Labour said in a statement: "We need to see the detail of what the Government puts forward regarding vaccine passports.
"We oppose the use of Covid vaccination status for everyday access to venues and services. It's costly, open to fraud and is impractical.
"Being double jabbed doesn’t prove you aren’t carrying the virus. Testing for access to venues would be more efficient, and would give people and businesses more certainty."
Combined with Tory MPs opposing the idea – about 40 may be against it, according to the Independent – along with the Liberal Democrats, Mr Johnson could have a battle in the Commons over the issue.
The PM said on Monday that "some of life's most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination".
He added: "I don't want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere, but it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing and make use of the NHS Covid pass.
"I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather."
Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: "80% of nightclubs have said they do not want to implement Covid passports, worrying about difficulties with enforcing the system and a reduction in spontaneous consumers, as well as being put at a competitive disadvantage with pubs and bars that aren't subject to the same restrictions and yet provide similar environments."
Mark Harper, the Conservative former chief whip who chairs the Covid Recovery Group of Tory lockdown-sceptics, said the plans were "effectively moving to compulsory vaccination".