Ministers at war over domestic vaccine passports as PM is urged to U-turn and allow them to help reopen hospitality venues left ‘on their knees’ by lockdown – as Dominic Raab refuses to back ‘jabs for jobs’
Boris Johnson is facing a Cabinet rebellion today over his refusal to sanction vaccine passports from ministers who say they can be used to help breathe life back into the hospitality industry.
The Prime Minister has accepted that official documents showing a person’s immunisation status are going to be needed for foreign travel.
But he has so far refused to allow them to be used domestically to enter venues that show live music, plus pubs, cinemas and theatres, on discrimination grounds.
However this decision if facing pushback from politicians who believe that they could be used to allow these social centres to open far earlier than otherwise possible.
Mr Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, due to be unveiled on Monday, is expected to allow pubs to reopen in May.
But to start with a maximum of two households will be allowed to sit together indoors and the rule of six will apply outside.
A senior minister told the Times today that vaccine certificates could allow a sped-up return to high business levels.
‘We’re talking about industries that are dying here. In terms of getting live music, theatre and other parts of the entertainment industry back on their feet, it seems an obvious thing to do once the majority of people have been vaccinated.’
A senior minister told the Times today that vaccine certificates could allow a sped-up return to high business levels for busineses like live music venues (London’s Brixton Academy pictured in 2018)
The Prime Minister has accepted that official documents showing a person’s immunisation status are going to be needed for foreign travel. But he has so far refused to allow them to be used domestically to enter venues that show live music, plus pubs, cinemas and theatres, on discrimination grounds.
Yesterday a conema boss warned that the use of Covid ‘vaccine passports’ to help businesses reopen post-lockdown could put venues at risk from possible claims for discrimination.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, said requiring proof of receipt of a coronavirus jab presented ‘a range of practical and legal problems’.
His comments came after the PM suggested rapid testing will be used over vaccine passports to support businesses re-opening once lockdown restrictions ease.
Boris Johnson did not not completely rule out using domestic immunity passports, saying on Monday the Government will ‘look at everything’.
But vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi today said it is ‘up to businesses’ to decide if they want to require proof of vaccination before serving customers.
Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today cooled calls for ‘jabs for jobs’ plans to allow employers to insist on vaccines before staff can return to work.
Ministers have previously said that such a plan would be discriminatory, and appearing on LBC today the Cabinet minister said the vaccine was not mandatory.
‘The precise relations and communications between employers and employees I think are a matter that we would want to leave to responsible employers,’ he said.
‘But what I am saying is that it is not the law of the land that you have to have the vaccine.’
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