Former Tory Leader Asks Whether Going to Stadiums Without Vax Passport Will Be ‘Criminal Offence’

Police officers speak to protester Paul Boys (R) as they attempt to disperse an anti-vax rally and protest against vaccination and government restrictions designed to control or mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the wearing of masks and lockdowns, in Liverpool, north-west England on November 14, 2020. (Photo …
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith begged his government to stop and reconsider what it would mean to introduce domestic vaccine passports, questioning whether it would be a “criminal offence” to go to a football match without one.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reportedly set to unveil a “toolbox” of measures he will argue will stop another winter lockdown, including the confirmation of vaccine passports for nightclubs and sports stadiums, and will still press ahead with renewing the Coronavirus Act 2020 until March 2022, two years after the emergency powers law was first passed.

According to sources speaking to The Sun, vulnerable Britons will also be encouraged to get a third vaccination against the Chinese coronavirus as well as one against influenza, in the belief it will stop National Health Service (NHS) hospitals from being overrun this winter with admissions.

“The only ‘toolbox’ we need is a crystal clear commitment never to shut down this country again,” former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told The Sun on Friday.

“Boris promised we are on a road out and there can be no turning back. Unless the toolbox means no lockdowns ever again, frankly the Government will be a box of tools.”

Prime Minister Johnson announced on July 19th that from late September, people would need to prove double vaccination to enter nightclubs, with the recent report giving an indication of the other settings where they could be enforced, including football stadiums.

Speaking separately to talkRADIO on Friday morning, Sir Iain warned of the “complications” arising from enforcing vaccine passports for places such as sports stadiums, questioning whether not having one in such a setting would be a “criminal offence”.

“I think it leads to all sorts of complications. For example: is it going to be a criminal offence not to have a vaccine passport if you haven’t had two jabs? What do you do at the door of the nightclub, restaurant, or in my case, as a season ticker-holder of Tottenham? What do I do when I go there… and I’m told I can’t come in because it’s not a criminal offence, but I haven’t got a [vaccine] passport,” Sir Ian said.

“This sort of thing really begins to get right to the heart of how we live our lives, to some degree freely, recognising there are restrictions generally. But what’s happening to those who then have to enforce it? These are the things that nobody seems to really come to terms with. I really, really beg my government just to take a pace back and think very carefully what we lose as much as what they think we might gain,” he added.

While it appears the prime minister is set to target large and very large settings for domestic vaccine passports, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Friday suggested that the need for papers could be further extended to other settings in future, such as pubs and restaurants.

Mr Dowden told Sky News: “We’ll be looking at bringing in certification for nightclubs towards the end of the month. We continue to engage with other sporting and cultural venues.

“So, for example, most Premier League matches will have some kind of certification already. I’ve been at the Royal Albert Hall, recently. They’ve got certification. Lots of them are proceeding on a voluntary basis.

“If there’s a need to further extend that certification, according to the public health need, we’ll look at doing so.

“But we’re always reluctant to impose further burdens on businesses unless we absolutely have to.”

Meanwhile, the SNP-led Scottish government has confirmed that over-18s will need vaccine passports to enter crowded venues from October 1st, with the possibility of rolling them out for the rest of the hospitality industry to be kept under review in the coming months.

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