70+ MPs launch cross-party campaign against COVID passes

Big Brother Watch Team / April 2, 2021

Further to Sir Keir’s comments about vaccine passports being un-British and against the “British instinct”, over 70 MPs have launched a cross-party campaign opposing their “divisive and discriminatory use”.

MPs and peers from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Conservative parties have signed a pledge to oppose the move.

Signatories include former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MPs Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long Bailey, former director of Liberty, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, and over 40 MPs from the Conservative Covid Recovery Group.

They have been supported by campaign groups Big Brother Watch, Liberty, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and Privacy International.

The pledge states:

“We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs.”

QUOTES

Baroness Chakrabarti said:

“International travel is a luxury but participating in your own community is a fundamental right. So internal Covid passports are an authoritarian step too far. We don’t defeat the virus with discrimination and oppression but with education, vaccination and mutual support.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey MP said:

“As we start to get this virus properly under control we should start getting our freedoms back, vaccine passports – essentially Covid ID cards – take us in the other direction.

“Liberal Democrats have always been the party for civil liberties, we were against ID cards when Blair tried to introduce them and we are against them now.

“I’m pleased Big Brother Watch is helping drive forward a growing consensus against Covid ID cards in our politics. Now I hope we can start to turn the tide on the creeping authoritarianism we are seeing from Number 10 across a broad range of issues.”

Sir Graham Brady MP said:

“Covid-Status Certification would be divisive and discriminatory. With high levels of vaccination protecting the vulnerable and making transmission less likely, we should aim to return to normal life, not to put permanent restrictions in place.”

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said:

“Our common goal is to emerge from lockdown – healthy, safe and free. But we won’t arrive at freedom through exclusion. Covid passes would be the first attempt at segregation in Britain for many decades, dividing communities without reducing the risks. We are in real danger of becoming a check-point society where anyone from bouncers to bosses could demand to see our papers. We cannot let this Government create a two-tier nation of division, discrimination and injustice.”

Minnie Rahman, Campaigns Director at JCWI, said:

“The Hostile Environment, which is built on identity checks, has already been proven to cause discrimination against migrants and people of colour. On top of this, migrant communities face significant barriers to accessing the vaccine. Any recovery plan which risks increasing racial discrimination and purposefully leaves people behind is doomed to fail.”

Sam Grant, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Liberty, said:

“We all want to get out of the pandemic as quickly as possible, but we need to do so in a way that ensures we don’t enter a ‘new normal’ which diminishes the rights and liberties we took for granted before the COVID crisis.

“Any passport system has the potential to create a two-tier society, and risk further marginalising people who are already discriminated against and cut off from vital services. Vaccine passports would allow ID systems by stealth, entrenching inequality and division.

“We need strategies that support and enable people to follow public health guidance, including vaccination, alongside more support for the most marginalised who have suffered the sharp edge of the Government’s focus on criminal justice over public health. We won’t get out of this pandemic by entrenching inequality, but only by protecting everyone.”

ENDS

Full list of signatories:

Labour Party

Diane Abbot MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Tahir Ali MP
Rebecca Long Bailey MP
Clive Lewis MP
Beth Winter MP
Rachel Hopkins MP
Apsana Begum MP
Richard Burgon MP
Ian Byrne MP
Dawn Butler MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Mary Kelly Foy MP
Ian Lavery MP
Ian Mearns MP
John McDonnell MP
Grahame Morris MP
Kate Osborne MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Claudia Webbe MP
Mick Whitley MP
Nadia Whittome MP
Baroness Chakrabarti
Baroness Bryan of Partick
Lord Woodley
Lord Sikka
Lord Hendy

Liberal Democrats

Ed Davey MP
Layla Moran MP
Munira Wilson MP
Alistair Carmichael MP
Daisy Cooper MP
Wendy Chamberlain MP
Sarah Olney MP
Christine Jardine MP
Jamie Stone MP
Tim Farron MP
Lord Scriven
Lord Strasburger
Lord Tyler
Lord Clement-Jones

Conservative Party

Mark Harper MP
Steve Baker MP
Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP
Harriett Baldwin MP
Esther McVey MP
Adam Afriyie MP
Bob Blackman MP
Sir Graham Brady MP
Nus Ghani MP
Andrew Mitchell MP
Peter Bone MP
Ben Bradley MP
Andrew Bridgen MP
Paul Bristow MP
Philip Davies MP
Richard Drax MP
Jonathan Djanogly MP
Chris Green MP
Philip Hollobone MP
Adam Holloway MP
David Jones MP
Simon Jupp MP
Andrew Lewer MBE MP
Julian Lewis MP
Karl McCartney MP
Craig Mackinlay MP
Anthony Mangnall MP
Stephen McPartland MP
Anne Marie Morris MP
Sir John Redwood MP
Andrew Rosindell MP
Greg Smith MP
Henry Smith MP
Julian Sturdy MP
Sir Desmond Swayne MP
Sir Robert Syms MP
Craig Tracey MP
Jamie Wallis MP
David Warburton MP
William Wragg MP
Sir Charles Walker MP

NGOs/Businesses

Big Brother Watch
Liberty
Migrants Organise
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
medConfidential
Privacy International