A cross party group of over 70 MP’s including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and senior Tory Iain Duncan Smith have launched a campaign opposing Covid passports in England. Former Tory former ministers including Esther McVey, Nus Ghani, Mark Harper and Harriett Baldwin are also backing the campaign.
Demands to verify vaccination status to access jobs, businesses such as pubs and restaurants or other services would be “divisive and discriminatory”, the cross-party group have said.
The launch of the campaign comes just days before Michael Gove is expected to announce the results of the government’s review into whether such proposals should be implemented.
Supporters say internal vaccine passports could help open up the economy while reducing the risk of contagion, but critics say they would not be fair and could risk discrimination.
A review is taking place into whether such a system could help to reopen the economy in England, with discussions also taking place across the devolved nations.
However, the plan could “scupper things” for hospitality venues who are trying to reopen, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, told BBC Breakfast.
She said: “It is a difficult process for us to implement, and yet today we have not had a consultation with the government about how we would do this in pubs.”
Baroness Chakrabarti, a Labour peer, said: “International travel is a luxury but participating in your own community is a fundamental right.
“So internal Covid passports are an authoritarian step too far. We don’t defeat the virus with discrimination and oppression but with education, vaccination and mutual support.”
Civil liberties groups Liberty, Big Brother Watch, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and Privacy International also gave their backing to the statement.
“We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs,” the MPs said in a joint statement, which was coordinated by the campaign group Big Brother Watch.
The government said no final decision had been made on Covid certificates.