Unvaccinated workers will be banned from entering England’s care homes from November under sweeping laws backed by the Commons tonight. The crackdown passed after 90 minutes’ debate despite a furious Tory revolt, as rebels complained the law was too broad and not backed by an impact assessment.
Thirty Conservative MPs defied Boris Johnson to oppose the law on mandatory jabs, which will take effect in 16 weeks’ time after it passed 319-246. They branded the law an “abomination” that will drag in delivery workers and routine boiler engineers – not just the care homes’ own staff.
Under the new law, England’s care homes will be banned from allowing people to enter the premises unless they’ve had both doses of the Covid vaccine.
There will be exemptions for care home residents, their friends and relatives, under-18s, and those with “evidence” they can’t have the jab for medical reasons. Emergency services, urgent maintenance workers and those visiting the dying will also be exempt.
But Tory MP Craig Mackinlay said: “We are asking care homes to be the policemen of delivery people and plumbers and window cleaners, with a £4,000 possible fine.”
Tory MP Mark Harper, of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, added: “These are incredibly broad. They apply to everybody who enters the premises of a care home.
“Even if they never see a resident, are there for moments, the care home will be prohibited by law from allowing them to enter and will have to ask them intrusive questions about their health status.”