Gavin Williamson questioned over vaccine passports

24 February 2021, 10:29

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson suggested he would accept a vaccine passport to get back into theatres, restaurants and cinemas.

When Nick Ferrari asked the Minister if he would be happy to have a vaccine passport to "facilitate entry to theatres, cinemas and restaurants?" the response was swift and with a smile.

A smiling Mr Williamson said: "I think I would probably do pretty much sort of anything to be able to enjoy all those lovely things.

"I think the idea of going to a restaurant with your family or going to the theatre is something we all really want to see."

Asked if the passports will become a reality, he said: "Michael Gove is being charged with actually looking at this. There are many challenges with this and it's really important to look right across the spectrum, at both the benefits it would bring but also some of the challenges it could bring."

But privacy and rights groups have come out and warned that it could lead to a two-tier society or even see the introduction of "ID cards through the backdoor."

Yesterday Boris Johnson spoke out on a review into the possible use of vaccine passports.

At a school in south London, the Prime Minister told reporters: "This is an area where we're looking at a novelty for our country, we haven't had stuff like this before, we've never thought in terms of having something that you have to show to go to a pub or a theatre.

"There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, and ethical issues about what the role is for Government in mandating or for people to have such a thing or indeed in banning from people doing such a thing.

Gavin Williamson tells LBC he would 'do anything' to get back to the cinema
Gavin Williamson tells LBC he would 'do anything' to get back to the cinema. Picture: LBC/PA

"We can't be discriminatory against people who for whatever reason people can't have the vaccine, there might be medical reasons why people can't have a vaccine.

"Or some people may generally refuse to have one, I think that's mistaken, I think everybody should have a vaccine but we need to thrash all this out.

"In the interval (during the rollout of the vaccines) what I want to see is a proper review into the issue. That's going to be led by Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who will be getting the best scientific, moral, philosophical, ethical viewpoints on it and will work out a way forward.

"The fervent libertarians will reject but other people will think there's a case for it."

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