Sajid Javid today dramatically dismissed the idea of compulsory Covid passports being introduced in England next month after a huge Tory outcry.
The Health Secretary declared that the government ‘will not be going ahead’ with the controversial move for nightclubs and major events, ahead of Boris Johnson unveiling the government’s ‘winter plan’ on Tuesday.
The U-turn comes after ministers were sent out to defend the proposals last week despite heavy fire from Conservative MPs who branded them ‘unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory’.
Responding to briefing about the policy being axed in interviews this morning, Mr Javid only initially told Sky News that he ‘hoped we can avoid’ the step.
But little more than an hour later he was telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that although the option is being ‘held in reserve’, ‘we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports’.
Government sources stressed that it is still possible the plans will be revisited if hospitalisations look at risk of running out of control later in the year.
The decision draws another dividing line within the UK, as Nicola Sturgeon has announced that a certification scheme will be launched in Scotland from October 1.
Read more: Sajid Javid kills off ‘Covid’ passports (for now): Health Secretary rules out scheme after huge Tory outcry (He knows he would be in for one hell of a pushback – what you take they will give and vice-versa)