Tory MP rejects Brits needing vaccine passports 'to go about their lives'

14 February 2021, 11:50 | Updated: 14 February 2021, 15:37

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Britain should not "get to a position where we are telling people they can’t do things unless they have been vaccinated", Tory MP Mark Harper has told LBC.

The chair of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) told LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday that he does not believe people should be required "to have a particular medical procedure before they can go about their day to day life".

It comes after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Tom Swarbrick that the government is considering introducing vaccine passports for both domestic and international travel.

Responding to the secretary of state's comments, Mr Harper told the presenter that other countries are entitled to demand a Covid-19 vaccination prior to entry.

"As far as international travel is concerned, clearly other countries are entitled to have rules about what you have to do before you enter their country. Clearly, if countries require you to have a Covid vaccination that is entirely up to them and people will need to be able to evidence that," he said.

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However, he was far more hesitant at the prospect of Britain introducing a similar measure for travel within its borders.

"In the UK, I don’t think we want to get to a position where we are telling people they can’t do things unless they have been vaccinated with Covid.”

Mr Harper added: “For everyday life, I don’t think you want to require people to have to have a particular medical procedure before they can go about their day to day life," he said.

"That is not how we do things in Britain.

"Obviously internationally that is up to other countries about what they require to enter their countries and obviously we will have to comply with that if we wish to travel abroad.”

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Mark Harper told LBC Brits shouldn't need vaccine passports to go about their lives
Mark Harper told LBC Brits shouldn't need vaccine passports to go about their lives. Picture: LBC

Earlier, Mr Raab told LBC the modalities and mechanisms for reopening the country still "need to be worked out" but that ministers are considering the introduction of domestic Covid passports.

"It's something that hasn't been ruled out and it's under consideration, but of course you've got to make it workable," he said.

However, a government spokesperson later told LBC: "There are no plans to introduce immunity passports for use domestically.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told the programme he thinks Covid vaccine passports are "inevitable" for international travel and that some organisations domestically "are probably going to expect it".

"I don't think it should be compulsory," he told LBC.

"But I think the infrastructure should be put in place so that, if you've had a vaccination, you can have a sort of app on your phone or something like that to prove it."

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