Michael Gove tells LBC he doesn’t support ‘vaccine passports’ for pubs and restaurants

1 December 2020, 08:22 | Updated: 1 December 2020, 08:26

By Asher McShane

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said he does not support plans that could see restaurants, bars and cinemas turning customers away if they have not had a Covid jab.

Nadhim Zahawi, the minister appointed to be responsible for the rollout of covid vaccines, was asked whether firms should adopt an "immunity passport."

Mr Zahawi said: "We are looking at the technology.

"I think you'll probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system - as they have done with the (test and trace) app."

Such a regime could result in people without the vaccine facing severe restrictions.

Mr Zahawi said: "I think people have to make a decision.

"But I think you'll probably find many service providers will want to engage with this in the way they did with the app."

But Michael Gove told Nick Ferrari today that he did not support the plans.

"The most important thing we need to concentrate on is just rolling the vaccine out, making sure it's available to as many people as possible" he said.

Separately the Prime Minister is braced for a damaging Tory rebellion as MPs vote on a new toughened system of tiered coronavirus controls for England.

The Government is expected to win Tuesday's Commons vote on the new rules - which are due to come into effect the following day - after Labour said it would abstain.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Sir Keir Starmer - who has previously backed Government measures - said while his party had "serious misgivings" it would not be in the national interest to vote them down when the virus still posed a "serious risk".

However, with scores of Conservative MPs deeply unhappy at the extent of the restrictions, the vote is likely to throw Tory divisions into sharp relief.

Many backbenchers are furious their constituencies face stricter controls than before the latest lockdown which ends on Wednesday.

At a No 10 news conference on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped some areas could be moved into lower tiers when the restrictions come up for their first fortnightly review on December 16.

But scientists advising the Government have made clear they see little scope for any widespread easing before Christmas.