Dozens of British parliamentarians from across the political spectrum have joined hands in opposition to the possible introduction of COVID-19 status certificates in England.
“We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs,” the lawmakers from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and Conservative parties said in a jointly signed pledge on Friday.
It comes after Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said in a newspaper interview that requiring CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine passports for social activities would be against the “British instinct.”
“As we start to get this virus properly under control we should start getting our freedoms back. Vaccine passports—essentially COVID ID cards—take us in the other direction,” said Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
“Now I hope we can start to turn the tide on the creeping authoritarianism we are seeing from Number 10 across a broad range of issues,” he said.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, called COVID certification “divisive and discriminatory.”
“With high levels of vaccination protecting the vulnerable and making transmission less likely, we should aim to return to normal life, not to put permanent restrictions in place,” he said.
Baroness Chakrabarti, a Labour member of the House of Lords, said “internal COVID passports are an authoritarian step too far.”
Big Brother Watch, a campaign group for privacy and civil liberties that is supporting the parliamentarians’ campaign, called the COVID passports “the first attempt at segregation in Britain for many decades.”
“We are in real danger of becoming a check-point society where anyone from bouncers to bosses could demand to see our papers. We cannot let this Government create a two-tier nation of division, discrimination and injustice,” said the group’s director, Silkie Carlo.
In response to the criticisms, a government spokesperson said, “No final decisions have been taken on whether COVID-status certification could play a role in reopening our economy.”
“The review is considering a range of issues, including the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification,” the spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.
When answering questions from MPs on March 24, Johnson said it might be “up to individual publicans and landlords” to decide if a vaccine certificate is required to enter a pub.
Representatives of the British pub industry wrote to Johnson on Thursday to express their “outrage” at the idea.
“This could prevent millions of young people visiting the pub for months, unless they get themselves tested in advance,” they said.