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Carmichael opposes vaccine passport plans

Alistair Carmichael MP

The debate over whether the UK should introduce a COVID-19 vaccination passport as a method of ensuring safe travel is in full swing — but Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has panned the idea as “the thin end” of a “dangerous wedge”.

Mr Carmichael, has spoken out this week, during a parliamentary debate on the issue. He criticised the idea of a mandated identification to prove vaccination, which has raised concerns about issues of privacy, individual choice, and discrimination against people of different health statuses, amongst other worries.

The Government is currently conducting a feasibility review on the idea of introducing vaccine passports.

Speaking in the House remotely, Mr Carmichael said: “On Wednesday morning, I shall be joining the queues in the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall to have my vaccination, and I very much look forward to the extra freedoms that that may allow me.

“However, it is worth remembering that one year ago we all surrendered a significant number of important freedoms to the Government. It was a necessary thing to do at the time. One year on, though, we know an awful lot better how we must deal with this pandemic. I suggest that the Government’s efforts should be focused on returning our liberties rather than tightening them further. That is why I oppose the idea of a vaccine passport.”

He added: “Once we have said that it is okay to have a passport for COVID, where will that argument go when the threat of COVID has receded? What we have before us today is the very thin end of a thick and dangerous wedge.

“The concept of a vaccine passport is a first step in a major redefinition of the relationship between the citizen and the state. When freedoms are given up, the state rarely rushes to return them.

“Remember how it was the last time we had identity cards. It was only going to be for the duration of the Second World War, but seven years after the end of that war, it required a citizen to take the Government to court to end it. That is why this matters.”