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Labour leader Keir Starmer said Monday he’d be open to the prospect of government-enforced vaccine passports at large events, but cautioned against their use ‘on an every day basis.’
Sir Keir added that vaccines alone are ‘not enough’ to prevent the spread of Covid at sporting events and other large gatherings and should be accompanied by negative coronavirus tests.
‘I will look carefully at what the government puts forward,’ Mr Starmer said after last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said proof of double vaccination would be a ‘condition of entry’ beginning in September for nightclubs and other ‘crowded venues.’
‘I want to be pragmatic about this, make sure that sports and all sectors are opened as quickly as possible,’ Starmer told Nick Ferrari on LBC radio. ‘I think that passports on their own are not enough because we know sadly you can be doubled jabbed and get the variant, so it’s got to be passports plus testing.’
Keir Starmer expressed more openness to vaccine passports Monday than he had in March.
Speculation arose last week that Labour could join Liberal Democrats and Conservative rebels in opposing using vaccination proof through the NHS Covid app for access to venues.
‘I don’t want to see vaccine passports used on an everyday basis for access to critical things like health dentistry food etc.’ Sir Keir said.
‘I don’t want to see people denied health, dentistry, food because they haven’t got a vaccine passport,’ he continued.
Labour’s support of the passport could save Johnson a defeat in Parliament, as at least 40 Tories plan to vote against their use when the measure reaches the Commons.
Last Monday, the first day nightclubs were allowed to reopen as the UK did away with most of its Covid restrictions, Mr Johnson made the announcement that vaccine passports could be required by the end of the summer.
Boris Johnson said that vaccine passports could be necessary for crowded venues like nightclubs by September.
One week earlier, ministers had said that they would encourage nightclubs to require an NHS Covid pass for entry, but it wouldn’t be required.
Those in the entertainment industry were shocked at the surprise announcement. In January, vaccines minister Sajid Javid had said ‘no one will be required to have a vaccine passport’.
Last March, Starmer too was more hesitant to the idea of vaccination certificates. ‘My instinct is that, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road,’ he told The Telegraph at the time.
Johnson’s announcement appeared to be aimed at driving young people to get their jab. ‘Some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.’
Asked if the scheme could be extended even to venues such as theatres and cinemas, business minister Paul Scully has said: “We’re not ruling anything out. We’ll work through the detail, but what we want to do is give fair warning now, so that we can work through the detail with operators over the next few weeks.”
Source: Daily Mail