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by Bethany Rielly
INTRODUCING vaccine passports would be “dangerous, discriminatory and counterproductive,” Shami Chakarabarti has claimed as 70 MPs warn against the measure.
The former shadow attorney general said Covid-19 certificates could create a “checkpoint Britain” and an “authoritarian step too far.”
“It’s one thing to have a passport to travel internationally, that is a privilege, even a luxury, but participating in local community life is a fundamental right,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It’s dangerous, it’s discriminatory, it’s counterproductive.”
The Labour peer is among 70 cross-party politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn and senior Tories, that have launched a campaign warning against the move.
It comes as PM Boris Johnson announced that there will “definitely” be a role for Covid-19 passports for Britons travelling abroad.
But ministers are also considering using certificates within Britain to reopen some sectors of the economy after lockdown with reports that trials are due within weeks at pilot events including the FA cup final.
The coalition opposing the scheme, which includes former Tory cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith, along with Labour MPs John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Rebecca Long-Bailey, warns that it would be “divisive and discriminatory.”
Their campaign is backed by civil liberties groups Liberty, Big Brother Watch, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Privacy International.
The number of Tories opposing the measure could put the PM at risk of losing his majority if Labour rejects the scheme.
Representatives of the pub sector have also spoken out against the plans.
British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said that the introduction of domestic passports could put an “additional burden” onto pubs.
“It could make it feel that we are discriminating against sections of the population that have not been offered a vaccination or are unable to have one like pregnant women or a grandad who is probably going to forget his actual vaccine passport because he does not have it on his smartphone,” she said.
“It is a difficult process for us to implement in venue and yet today we have not had a consultation with the government about how we would do this in pubs.”
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