Labour Party to Vote Against Domestic Vaccine Passports: Report

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, wears a face visor during talks with care home workers and family members of residents during a visit to Cafe 1899 in Gedling Country Park on July 16, 2020 in Nottingham, England. The opposition leader discussed the impact of …
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Labour MPs have reportedly been informed that the left-wing party will vote against the use of coronavirus vaccine passports, joining a Tory rebellion of around 40 MPs against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s papers push.

A leaked internal Labour briefing said that the party would oppose efforts in the House of Commons to pass legislation for vaccine passports as they currently stand, with the party looking to focus on other measures to re-open the British economy.

The briefing, which was seen by the HuffPost, said: “On the basis of what we’ve seen we would oppose domestic vaccine passports.”

“Labour’s focus would be on getting the vaccine out, fixing self-isolation and contact tracing,” it added.

A senior Labour source said: “On the basis of what we’ve seen and discussed with ministers, we oppose the government’s plans for domestic vaccine passports.

“They appear poorly thought-through, will put added burdens on business and run the risk of becoming another expensive Whitehall project that gets outsourced to friends of Tory ministers.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has previously said that to him, vaccine passports go against the “British instinct”; however, he has not publicly come out against the idea full stop.

The HuffPost report did go on to say that the party, which has largely backed the government on strict lockdown restrictions, is still open to backing a form of coronavirus certification, which would be based on testing rather than on vaccination status.

The opposition may ultimately be powerless to stop the vax pass scheme, however, as the leftist separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) has signalled that it would support the Conservative government’s efforts.

The leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, told The Telegraph: “Obviously we’re keen to take steps to get back to normality, but in a way that is inclusive. We would look constructively on any proposals that would help us get there, including Covid status checks.

“It is important that people are not excluded. Therefore such checks would have to include people who have had a Covid test as well as those who are vaccinated.”

While Scottish MPs typically refrain from voting on English matters, Blackford defended the move by saying: “When it comes to SNP MPs potentially voting on such matters in Westminster, these measures will affect Scots visiting friends or for work in England.”

Should the SNP join the Tories in the vote, then around 80 Conservative MPs would need to rebel against the government. At present, only 41 Tories have said they would vote against domestic coronavirus passports.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down the idea of introducing health papers during the initial phases of his reopening plan, he did leave the door open to introducing them in the future, with the government even going so far as to say that COVID passes are likely to become a “feature of our lives”.

There has been growing opposition internationally to the draconian measures, with the World Health Organization (WHO) coming out on Tuesday against vaccine passports being used for international travel, as they say it is currently unknown how effective the inoculations will be in slowing the transmission of the Chinese virus.

In the United States, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, banned the creation of a vaccine passport within the state through an executive order issued on Tuesday. Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki also claimed on Tuesday that the American federal government “is not now, nor will be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.