Requiring a “vaccine certificate” to enter venues would end the centuries-old ban on allowing the state to “demand that we provide our papers”, a senior Conservative has warned.
David Davis condemned the proposal – currently being considered by the government – as a “massive intrusion” on ordinary life which would “discriminate” against the young and ethnic minorities.
“It doesn’t actually provide protection for the rest of the population,” Mr Davis told a Commons inquiry – also saying there were a “variety of good reasons for people not to take a vaccine”.
And, warning Whitehall loves “control of data”, he said: “It seems to me that we are creating a permanent solution for a temporary problem.
“Not for the last several centuries have we allowed the state, or anyone else, to demand that we provide our papers”, Mr Davis said, adding: “This is a very bad time to start.”
The prime minister was forced to act as some organisations began exploring a smartphone app that would require proof of a jab – as a way to instil public confidence in the safety of their venues when the lockdown ends.
An inquiry is also being carried out by the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which has been angered by Mr Gove’s refusal to give evidence.
Mr Johnson is believed to have already authorised compulsory vaccinations for care home staff – as some employers ponder ‘no jab no jab’ rules – but this has not been confirmed.
Mr Davis – an opponent of ID cards in the early 200s – said there should be no objection to “vaccine passports” to go abroad, as foreign travel was not “a fundamental human right”.
But, on a domestic version, he insisted that was “not the job of government”, accusing ministers of being “very, very confused about the ethical issues”.
Professor Jonathan Wolff, a philosopher and academic at Oxford University, also warned against the move, saying the price of stepping back would only be that the economy would “open up more slowly”.
“For me, the nightmare is that people will think that, if they’ve got the passport in their hand, they are safe, that they can’t infect other people and they won’t get infected,” he said.
“Also, it may well be there’s abuse and fraud, so some people who haven’t been vaccinated managed somehow to gain the system to get fake certificates.”
Mr Gove is expected to announce the findings of his review in June, when step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown is confirmed – or delayed.