Ex-Cabinet minister David Davis says the Government’s vaccine passport plan could be ILLEGAL and warns pubs, theatres and football stadiums will ‘run straight into a court case’ if they rollout their own ‘no jab, no entry’ requirements
- Government is currently looking at how ‘Covid status certification’ could work
- Certificates could include testing or vaccination data to reopen parts of society
- David Davis said planned domestic vaccine passport ‘would be discriminatory’
- Ex-Cabinet minister said discriminating on grounds of jabs would be ‘illegal’
- Also warned private firms will face court cases if they rollout their own schemes
David Davis today warned domestic vaccine passports could be illegal and firms which implement their own ‘no jab, no entry’ schemes will ‘run straight into a court case’.
The Government is currently examining how a so-called ‘Covid status certification’ system could work as part of its efforts to get life back to normal.
The documents would provide a formal record of whether someone has had a vaccine or if they have recently been tested for coronavirus, with that data potentially then used to determine access to services and events.
Mr Davis told MPs that under the law such a policy would likely result in indirect discrimination and ‘that is illegal’.
He also expressed concerns the system would ‘grow and grow and grow’ before eventually turning into what would effectively be a national ID card programme – something he has long opposed.
Meanwhile, some private companies are reported to be developing their own vaccine certificate plans but Mr Davis said such moves would inevitably prompt legal challenges.
The Government is currently conducting a review on how a system of so-called ‘Covid status certification’ could work
The Government is currently looking at how a vaccine passport system could work, with officials tasked with navigating the minefield of ethical and legal concerns associated with the policy.
Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap said the findings of the review on the matter will be published before step four of his exit strategy which is due to take place no earlier than June 21.
Giving evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee this morning, Mr Davis said he was in favour of an international vaccine passport to allow foreign travel to resume.
He said that ‘seems to me to be perfectly reasonable because the balance of advantage heavily favours that and the intrusion on an individual’s liberty is much lower’ since international travel ‘is not basically a fundamental human right’.
But he continued: ‘Now, the reasons against domestics passports, there are many, but let me pick off a few.
‘Firstly, the impact of this would be discriminatory. Under the law it will be indirectly discriminatory and that is illegal.
‘You may well find it has been said that black and ethnic minority communities are less inclined to get vaccinated, well that would be an indirect discrimination.
‘You have heard that younger people may not get vaccinated, that would be a discrimination.
‘Some people have ethical or religious objections. We have heard about the fears that various animal products may be used [in vaccines], worrying some religious groups.’
Mr Davis said that he has had the jab and while there are a ‘variety of good reasons for people not to take a vaccine… I think most of the reasons are not ones I would subscribe to but people have that freedom’.
He argued vaccine passports would effectively ‘coerce’ people into getting the jab and the policy ‘explicitly discriminates against people who have not been vaccinated’.
Told that some private companies could impose certificate requirements of their own even if the Government does not go ahead with its scheme, Mr Davis said: ‘The pub or the theatre or the football match for that matter is a different matter.
‘If they do so they will run straight into a court case, I should think, on discrimination grounds alone.’
Mr Davis, who was a vocal opponent of a past push to introduce national ID cards, said vaccine passports would inevitably be expanded in the future.
‘It is straight away a problem and it will grow because inevitably once you have got the mechanism, it is common sense that people will try to use it for other uses and it will grow and grow and grow,’ he said.
The Government’s review of vaccine passports will look at how the documents ‘could play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety’.
‘This will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk, and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-Secure mitigations,’ the roadmap states.
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