As published by The Evening Standard:
A former Conservative minister said plans for vaccine passports to enter nightclubs and other larger venues were “illiberal” as Boris Johnson faces the biggest backbench revolt of his premiership.
David Davis, former Brexit minister, said he wouldn’t be voting for the proposal in the Commons on Tuesday.
More than 70 Conservative MPs could vote against the plan, one of three new Plan B measures introduced by the Government to try and slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
Although the Covid passports measure is set to pass thanks to support from Labour, the rebellion will add to Mr Johnson’s woes as he continues to fight allegations that he and his staff may have broken coronavirus measures by hosting Christmas parties last year.
A report by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case into claims of Christmas parties across Whitehall could be published by the end of the week, with the Prime Minister also facing a humiliating by-election defeat by the Liberal Democrats in North Shropshire on Thursday.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted the Tories were “fighting for every vote” in the by-election. Mr Davis said: “The real issue here is the so-called vaccine passports, the Covid certificates you have to have… it is an illiberal requirement, it’s not something we have historically done; require people to document their own medical status.
“The other thing — much more important in many ways — is actually it won’t work. It’s been tried in a number of other countries, France in the summer, German states, Greece, Scotland, Wales… they have all tried to validate it and say they have done it and it has had an effect but none of it stands up.”
Marcus Fysh, another Tory MP who said he will vote against the measure, dismissed suggestions the revolt may fizzle out following Mr Johnson’s televised Downing Street appeal on Sunday to urge the nation to get booster jabs.
He told the Standard: “It’s an authoritarian move which needs to be resisted… people have lost their minds, we need a proportionate and balanced approach.”
Mr Javid defended Covid passports, saying they were “perfectly reasonable,” but he added on LBC: “There are many people in Parliament that still want to be convinced and it is right that they are given the time they need, any data, anything that might help them reach their decision.”