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Coronavirus / Lib Dems oppose move towards vaccination passports

THE POSSIBLE introduction of what has been termed ‘vaccination passports’ in the UK has been described as the “very thin end of a thick and illiberal wedge” by Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

His comments come after the UK Parliament voted with a large majority (484 to 76) to extend powers under the Coronavirus Act for another six months.

A decision on whether vaccination passports will be introduced is not expected before June when most of the adult population will have been vaccinated with their first dose.

The hospitality sector is already condemning that the use of such passports to order a pint in a pub would be “unfair” and “unworkable”, while civil liberty campaigners have voiced concern that the ‘papers for pints’ proposal mean essentially the introduction of ID cards by stealth.

The EU, meanwhile, is to publish proposals for the introductions of digital proof of vaccination (passports), which may become instrumental in allowing people to travel overseas.

And according to health boards people will receive written confirmation that they have been vaccinated after receiving the second dose in the current rollout.

Carmichael said the idea of vaccination passports would turn the UK into “a papers please society”.

“This idea of vaccine passports is a dangerous one. It is the very thin end of a thick and illiberal wedge,” he said.

“If it is okay to force people to confirm their health status in relation to this particular virus, is it then going to be okay for people to carry a piece of paper, under some future Government, that says they are HIV-negative, or whatever it is?

“For all sorts of reasons, both practical and due to matters of high principle, the Government are currently going in the wrong direction.

“By renewing the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020, we will not be doing the job that our voters sent us here to do.”