It is no secret that I am opposed to the principle of vaccine passports and that is why I shall vote against them in a vote, expected on 14th December.
There is a mitigating factor that a negative test will get around the need for a vaccine pass to be presented, but when there is apparently also a need for a ‘national conversation on vaccine passports’, I don’t want this to be the thin end of the wedge. In my mind, it should be the other way around, with vaccine passes as the mitigating circumstance and tests being offered as the default currency, which I believe will be more valuable anyway, since even with vaccination, you can get coronavirus and pass it on.
The data and evidence to convince me that Plan B is necessary has not been presented. When I look into the situation in South Africa and find that there is indeed higher levels of hospitalisation, but that only a fraction of the population have been vaccinated, it does not convince me that we require vaccine passports for any event. This is especially true in the context of a ‘national conversation’ about vaccine passports which furthers my concern that this is the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and, unless I have assurances and evidence that this isn’t the case, I cannot support these measures.
I have written about my feelings on this in the Daily Telegraph on 13th December. The link is here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/12/12/quarter-government-ministerial-aides-resignation-watch-ahead/
I hope this reassures you that I will not surrender basic freedoms and liberties lightly and, given we are not making as much progress as needed on vaccines boosters for those who are older, that is and continues to be my first priority. When I am dealing with an NHS bureaucracy in Dorset that says it will take 25 days to respond to my letter about the issue of vaccination boosters not being readily available locally for the over 60s, I hope you can appreciate how important that first priority is.