Ministers could include ‘sunset clauses’ in domestic vaccination passport law to reassure Tory rebels that controls will be ‘explicitly temporary’ amid growing backlash
- Ministers said they were considering including a ‘sunset clause’ in the vaccine passport law
- Movement intended to reassure Tory rebels, domestic controls would be temporary
- Comes amid mounting backlash to plans over privacy and civil liberties concerns
Ministers could include ‘sunset clauses’ in any laws necessary to substantiate the use of domestic vaccine passports to reassure Tory rebels that the controls would only be temporary.
It is said that the legislation is being considered in time as Michael Gove is leading a Whitehall review on how the documents could work.
A source familiar with the review told The Telegraph that ‘sunset clauses’ could be used to emphasize that the passports would be ‘explicitly temporary’.
Mr Gove is expected to provide an update on the documents to Parliament before the end of the month.
The government is facing a growing backseat from its own backseat on this issue amid concerns that passports could be used to control access to pubs, restaurants and even non-essential shops.
Boris Johnson is facing growing backlash over his plans to introduce national vaccine passports
The government has left the door open to the possibility of the Covid status certification being used in pubs
About 40 Tory MPs have said they are against the domestic use of the documents, while Labor and the SNP have also said they cannot support the current plans.
According to the initial findings of the government inquiry into so-called Covid status certification, the documents could play an “important role, both nationally and internationally, as a temporary measure.”
The government ruled out the use of the documents to determine access to public transportation or necessary shops.
But the findings said, “It is possible that COVID status certification could also play a role in reducing social distance requirements in other settings that people visit more frequently, such as in catering establishments.”
Many Tory MPs support the use of the documents for international travel, but are against using them in everyday home life, warning that it would create a ‘dual’ nation.
Boris Johnson defended his plans yesterday saying it is “responsible” for the government to think about the best way to safely reopen society and “we will look at all options.”
He stressed that no documentation will be required to access shops, pubs and restaurants in England on April 12 or May 17 – the next steps on his lockdown exit roadmap.
He said: ‘But it is clear that it will be the responsibility of every government to look into the possibility of ensuring that we can safely continue opening up all sectors of the economy for the rest of this year. and, you know, we look at all the possibilities.
“But I have absolutely no doubt that we will continue in a safe manner with the roadmap that we have set up, but no one should think that any form of certificates will be needed on April 12 or May 17.”
Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister’s plans for the domestic use of the documents are “a complete mess” and that Labor cannot support them “in their current form.”
The combination of Labor and SNP opposition and a 40-member Tory rebellion has sparked speculation that Mr Johnson could lose a vote on the matter in the House of Commons.
The government has said the documents would consist of a combination of vaccination, testing and immunity data.
The system will be trialled in a series of event pilots in the coming weeks, but they will initially only check test data.