Vaccine passports not ruled out for pubs and restaurants suggests minister as he’s berated by fuming Tory MPs


JABS passports still haven’t been ruled out for pubs and restaurants, the vaccines minister suggested today.

Nadhim Zahawi would only commit to not making Covid ID compulsory for “essential” services as he clashed with furious Tory MPs.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi clashed with fuming Tory MPs
Jabs passports will soon be needed to enter nightclubs in England

He was lambasted by backbenchers over the “pointless policy” and accused of starting a “needless fight” with his own party.

Mr Zahawi defended the introduction of vaccine passports which he said would “reduce transmission and serious illness”.

Boris Johnson is already facing a major rebellion over the plans, with more than 50 Tories expected to mutiny.

Covid papers will be needed to enter nightclubs and other large indoor venues from later this month.

Mr Zahawi didn’t rule out their use becoming more widespread.

He sparred with raging MPs during a heated debate at the Commons constitutional affairs committee.

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The vaccines minister was pressed by Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner on where people will have to show Covid papers.

He replied: “I can assure her that there are some essential services which will not need for people to show Covid vaccine certification.

“These settings that have stayed open throughout the pandemic, such as public sector buildings, essential retail, essential services and public transport.”

Mr Zahawi insisted it “pains” him to introduce vaccine passports and it’s a decision “we do not take lightly”.

He said it is “something that goes against the DNA of this minister and his PM but we are living through difficult times, unprecedented times”.

And he added: “We have done an incredible job, as the four nations, with the vaccination programme.

“This is a precautionary measure to ensure that we can sustainably maintain the opening of all sectors of the economy.

“It is in line with the approach we’ve taken on international travel where different rules apply depending on whether you’ve had both jabs.”

Tory fury

But fuming Tory MPs lined up to angrily denounce the Government’s plans.

William Wragg accused the minister of talking “a load of rubbish” and said he was trying to “defend the indefensible”.

He raged: “This is a needless fight that we seem prepared to have in this House over the issue – it’s completely unnecessary.

“To go down this route, which is overtly discriminatory, would be utterly damaging to the fabric of society.”

Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Research Group, said vaccine passports are “a pointless policy with damaging effects”.

He added: “I’m afraid the minister is picking an unnecessary fight with his own colleagues. I say to him the Government should think again.”

Veteran backbencher Sir Desmond Swayne also attacked the plans.

He fumed: “Isn’t the super spreader event the spread of a liberal discriminatory and coercive policy from this despatch box?”

Tory MP Simon Jupp said it will “create a two-tier society with the hospitality sector having to police an unethical policy that will hammer their recovery”.

Fellow backbencher Richard Fuller branded the plans “unsupportable because they are bereft of any rationale”.

Ex Cabinet minister Karen Bradley meanwhile suggested Mr Zahawi’s heart wasn’t “truly in” the proposals.

MPs from opposition parties also panned the move to bring in Covid papers.

Labour’s Jeff Smith, a former DJ, said the plans are “a recipe for chaos on the doors of nightclubs”.

Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael said they “open the door to a major change in the relationship between the citizen and the state”.

After the verbal battering a defiant Mr Zahawi said he would rather take the “arrows from colleagues” than have to close nightclubs.

And he received some support from Tory colleague Michael Fabricant who said Covid passes will encourage more people to get jabbed.