Former Welsh Secretary says many Tory MPs have ‘instinctive discomfort’ with Covid passes before England vote
A Welsh Conservative MP has suggested that he will vote against the introduction of Covid passes in England, saying that the idea was causing him and other “mainstream” Conservatives “instinctive discomfort”.
Preseli Pembroke MP Stephen Crabb, a former Welsh Secretary within the UK Government, said that he feared that it would separate society into two groups and force people to be vaccinated.
MPs will vote on Tuesday on whether to approve the measures, but dozens of Conservatives who believe they are too draconian are expected to rebel.
“I support all of the measures the government are going to bring in as part of Plan B – with the exception of the Covid pass,” Stephen Crabb told BBC News.
“And the reason myself and other mainstream Conservative MPs who have backed the government all the way through this – the reason we’re struggling – is the element of compulsion that comes with it.
“The idea that we are taking a pretty significant step down the road of becoming a society that basically separates society into two groups. One group that are vaccinated that are allowed to participate fully in all the benefits of mainstream society and another group who, by force of sanction and coercion by the state – won’t be able to participate in the same kinds of activities.
“Now I completely take the government’s point that it isn’t a pure vaccination pass because you can prove through a negative lateral flow test. But still, it’s not a small step that we plan to take.
“And people like myself who aren’t libertarians, we aren’t on that wing of the party, but we have this instinctive discomfort about this step that we seem to be taking, and it’s giving us a lot of reason to just pause and reflect on this.”
Despite the threat of a large Tory rebellion the measures are expected to pass with the support of Labour MPs.
Responding to the threat of rebellion by MPs, a No 10 spokesperson said: “We are facing a tidal wave of Omicron and these ‘Plan B’ measures are a vital part of enabling us to buy time so we can get more of these booster doses in arms and provide protection.
“On the issue of certification, it requires proof of a negative test unless you are double vaccinated and it allows us to keep some of these settings open which is vital for hospitality.”
The Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd have already said that they oppose vaccine passes, which have been in place in Wales since October, and that they will continue to oppose them even if they are introduced by a Conservative UK Government in England.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.