Parliament should be recalled over Covid vaccine passports, says Tory MP

The senior Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has said parliament should be recalled from its summer recess if the government is “serious” about plans to introduce domestic vaccine passports for entry into large-scale events.

Bridgen, a member of the lockdown-sceptical Covid Recovery Group, is one of 43 conservative MPs to sign a declaration opposing vaccine passports.

Speaking to LBC, the MP for North West Leicestershire said: “I think if the government is serious about the threat of bringing in domestic vaccine passports, then of course parliament should be recalled.

“This is a very serious infringement on people’s liberties, it is basically unprecedented in this country, and I and a number of colleagues would oppose it.

Bridgen predicted that a Commons vote on the issue would result in an “embarrassing defeat” for the government.

Él dijo: “I think it is a very blunt instrument, to threaten people with domestic Covid passports. I personally don’t think it would get through the House of Commons in any event and that’s why the government has moved on to these ‘carrot’ inducements for young people.”

Bridgen is one of a growing number of Conservatives on the party’s “libertarian wing” who have threatened to boycott this year’s party conference if attenders are required to present proof of vaccination. Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group, as well as Peter Bone and Mark Jenkinson have also said they will not attend the conference, which is being held in Manchester from 3-6 octubre.

The government was accused of trying to introduce vaccine passports “by stealth” this week after the NHS app was updated to include a domestic Covid passport section.

The Conservative grandee Sir David Lidington, the de facto deputy prime minister under Theresa May, was another to raise concerns.

The former justice secretary said introducing domestic vaccine passports would set a “dangerous precedent”.

Lidington told Times Radio: “I’m much more cautious about the government laying down a law that people should actually have access to particular events in civil society only if they’ve got some sort of government certificate of approval.

“I think that’s a pretty dangerous precedent and it also raises all sorts of really difficult practical problems about implementation.

“I mean, whose responsibility is it to actually carry out these checks? What sanctions do they have against an individual who resists having a check?"

He added that he thought there were “better ways of persuading young people to take up the vaccine” than denying them entry to nightclubs.

Dominic Wilkinson, a professor of medical ethics at Oxford University, said there was a “strong case” for vaccine passports in allowing fully vaccinated people to return to socialising.

Wilkinson told LBC Radio: “I think the idea of using vaccine passports as a stick to beat people up and punish them if they haven’t been vaccinated is ethically flawed.

“But there is a strong case for vaccine passports, which is the other way round, which is that those who are vaccinated, or potentially have other evidence that they are at low risk of passing on the virus, should not be unduly restricted from enjoying the normal things in everyday life.

“They are no longer at serious risk of passing on the virus so, ethically, they ought to be able to travel, go to work, go out and socialise in a more normal way.”

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