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Labour Won’t Back Nightclub Covid Passports If Testing Element Is Removed

The government plans to make covid certification mandatory in nightclubs and other settings from the end of September (Alamy)

3 min read

A senior Labour source has indicated the party will not support making Covid certification in nightclubs mandatory.

The decision leaves the government vulnerable to losing a vote on the issue after more than 40 Tory MPs have indicated they will rebel against the move, which would wipe out the party’s majority.

So far Labour has notcommitted either way on so-called “vaccine passports”, saying the current plans are “unfair” but leaving open the option to back their compulsory introduction.

But the party now appears to be taking a much firmer position after the government announced plans to base the NHS Covid Pass on vaccination status only.

Currently a person can gain entrance to somewhere requiring certification through three means; by being double jabbed, proof of antibodies against Covid-19 with positive laboratory test within six months, or a very recent negative result from a lateral flow test.

When the Prime Minister confirmed details of the proposed system earlier this week, which is currently voluntary, but will be made mandatory for nightclubs from September, he said the ability to take a test to access a NHS Covid Pass will be removed.

“I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double-jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather,” Johnson said at Monday’s press conference.

The move is believed to be aimed at making sure younger people continue to get vaccinated, as figures show those aged between 18 and 25 have the lowest uptake of jabs.

Labour have now confirmed they would not support a system where you will only be able to fulfil the certification process if you have had both doses of a vaccine. A senior Labour source said the party felt the testing system used for the pilots in the government’s Events Research Programme should be kept in place for mass events, rather than relying only on proof of vaccine.

They also noted that people can still catch and transfer coronavirus with two doses, and that there are many people currently ineligible for the vaccine.

No.10 has said there will be exemptions for those unable to be vaccinated so they are still able to attend nightclubs and other mass events that fall under the mandatory certification rules.

But having promised there will be a vote in Parliament on the matter, and opposition parties suggesting they will not support the measures, the government faces the prospect of defeat unless they can win over some of the backbench Conservative rebels. 

A senior minister has urged his Tory colleagues to back the measures for crowded venues, explaining they are being proposed with the "heaviest of hearts”.

In a virtual media briefing this morning, Welsh secretary Simon Hart issued a plea to would-be rebels insisting the government was only going ahead with compulsory certification because they believed it to be necessary and effective. 

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