Tory MPs urged the Government to drop plans for vaccine passports after accusing a minister of talking “rubbish” and picking an “unnecessary fight” with them.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi also caused head-shaking among colleagues when he told MPs there will be “some essential services which will not need” people to show a Covid passport – heightening their fears over the Government’s proposals.
The Government has confirmed it wants to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs, an idea which has previously been met with criticism from MPs in both main parties, by the end of September.
The scheme would see members of the public required to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other large-scale events.
Responding to an urgent question in the Commons, Mr Zahawi said the policy is “designed to reduce transmission and serious illness”. He added: “No-one in this Government, certainly not this Prime Minister – it is not in his DNA to curtail people’s freedoms or require people to show a piece of paper before they enter a nightclub.”
Mr Zahawi went on: “The reason that we are moving forward on this is because, if you look at what has happened in other countries where nightclubs were opening and then shutting again, opening and shutting again, we want to avoid that disruption and maintain sectors that can add to people’s enjoyment of life and dance, as it did for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove).
“That they can do so sustainably, the reason for the end of September… is because by the end of September all 18-year-olds and above would have had the chance to have two doses.”
He added: “It is not something… we do lightly, it is something to allow us to transition this virus from pandemic to endemic status.”