Nus Ghani among MPs to oppose ‘divisive and discriminatory use’ of vaccine passports
The MP for Wealden is among more than 70 MPs who have opposed the ‘divisive and discriminatory use’ of vaccine passports.
Nus Ghani and other MPs and peers from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Conservative parties have signed a pledge which states: “We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs.”
They have been supported by campaign groups including Big Brother Watch, Liberty, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and Privacy International.
The Government is trialling the use of covid passports – certificates proving a person has had a vaccine, a recent negative covid test or has covid immunity – at large gatherings such as sports events.
Boris Johnson has said no plans ‘have been finalised yet’ about whether covid passports will definitely be introduced in the future.
A government-commissioned review published on Monday made clear that there were some settings where covid passports would never be required – for example essential shops and public services, and public transport – however it left open the possibility that they could be used by businesses such as pubs or restaurants.
Sam Grant, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Liberty, said: “We all want to get out of the pandemic as quickly as possible, but we need to do so in a way that ensures we don’t enter a ‘new normal’ which diminishes the rights and liberties we took for granted before the COVID crisis.
“Any passport system has the potential to create a two-tier society, and risk further marginalising people who are already discriminated against and cut off from vital services.
“Vaccine passports would allow ID systems by stealth, entrenching inequality and division.
“We need strategies that support and enable people to follow public health guidance, including vaccination, alongside more support for the most marginalised who have suffered the sharp edge of the Government’s focus on criminal justice over public health.
“We won’t get out of this pandemic by entrenching inequality, but only by protecting everyone.”