Following Monday’s announcements by the prime minister and vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi that only the fully vaccinated will be able to enter nightclubs and large venues from September, the move has met with resistance from senior Conservative MPs, privacy advocates and the Labour Party.
The Cabinet is reportedly split over the proposals, with one Cabinet minister quoted in the i newspaper as saying, “I don’t know if it will actually ever happen. There are no advocates of the policy.”
The minister is said to have predicted that should the uptake of vaccines grow to around 85% of young people by September, Johnson would drop the idea as a sufficient number would be protected.
Legislation would be required to make vaccine passports mandatory, and the move would need to be voted on in the House of Commons where Johnson would be expected to face strong resistance from a significant number of Conservative and Labour MPs, with Labour having suggested testing should play a role in venue entry protocols.
A Labour spokesperson said, “We oppose the use of Covid vaccination status for everyday access to venues and services. Testing for access to venues would be more efficient, and would give people and businesses more certainty.”
The vaccine passport suggestion has met with frustration throughout the events industry, not least as there has been no clarification of exactly what venues fall within the category of “nightclubs and large venues”. It has also faced criticism from artists. Eric Clapton issued a statement in which he said he reserves “the right” to cancel performances at venues where proof of vaccination is required.
He said, “I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”