Boris Johnson once wrote that if someone in authority demanded he show an ID card he would “physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it.”
Yet 15 years later, Prime Minister Johnson has released Covid IDs by stealth, encouraged businesses to restrict entry to people carrying medical papers, and has plotted a mandatory internal health passport scheme clearly on the horizon.
Conservatives have long fought ID schemes, notably scrapping Blair’s national IDs in 2010, championing common law freedoms. We’re free to act as we please unless there is a law to stop us, and authorities must identify themselves to us rather than vice versa. But vaccine IDs turn our constitutional liberties upside down.
Are we are now becoming a nation that only has liberty on license, rather than liberty by birthright?
A backbench rebellion of Conservative parliamentarians has held the Prime Minister’s feet to the fire on Covid authoritarianism, with Steve Baker MP warning that Covid passports would set a “dangerous precedent for the advance of the biosecurity state”. Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith is among the 44 Conservative MPs and former ministers who have signed Big Brother Watch’s pledge against Covid IDs, and it is well known that the backbench rebellion against Covid passports would attract larger numbers still in a vote.
Will traditional Conservatives win the fight against Johnson’s Covid IDs?
Or will the Conservative Party turn Britain into a two-tier, papers-carrying country?
We bring together key party voices to discuss why Conservatives should oppose Covid IDs.
2pm: Opening speech, David Davis MP
2.30pm: Rebels’ panel, chaired by Julia Hartley-Brewer: former Brexit Minister Steve Baker MP, Andrew Bridgen MP, Chris Green MP, Baroness Helena Morrissey
3.30pm: Sir Graham Brady MP, Chair of the 1922 Committee