Ministers have been warned against the introduction of vaccination records by a bipartisan group of politicians, including former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey.
More than 70 MPs, along with colleagues from the House of Lords, have launched a bipartisan campaign to oppose what they say is “divisive and discriminatory”.
It comes after Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested that “British instincts” might be against the use of such a system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the proposal Thursday, saying that “there will definitely be a world where international travel will use vaccination cards”.
While on a trip to Middlesbrough, he told reporters, “You can already see that other countries, the aviation industry, are interested, and there is a logic to that.”
In a pledge signed by Mr Corbyn and Sir Ed, as well as other prominent figures such as conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, former Labor Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, the group warns the government against it bring such a proposal.
The pledge reads: “We reject the divisive and discriminatory use of Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs.”
Tory MP Sir Graham Brady, signer of the pledge, insisted that the goal should be to get back to normal life.
He stated: “The Covid status certification would be divisive and discriminatory.
“Because high levels of vaccination protect those in need of protection and reduce the likelihood of transmission, we should endeavor to return to normal life and not introduce permanent restrictions.”
Sir Ed Davey said he hoped to turn the tide of “creeping authoritarianism” on Downing Street.
He said, “If we start to get this virus under control, we should start to regain our freedoms. Vaccination records – essentially Covid ID cards – lead us in the other direction.
“Liberal Democrats have always been the Civil Liberties Party, we were against ID cards when Blair tried to introduce them, and we are against them now.”
He added, “I hope we can turn the tide of the creeping authoritarianism we see from number 10 on a wide range of issues.”
Labor peer Baroness Shami Chakrabarti suggested that the use of Covid passports was a “step too far”.
“International travel is a luxury, but participation in your own community is a fundamental right,” said Baroness Chakrabarti.
“Internal Covid passports are therefore an authoritarian step too far. We are not defeating the virus through discrimination and repression, but through education, vaccination and mutual support. “
The campaign was supported by Big Brother Watch, Liberty, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and Privacy International.
Silkie Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch, said, “Our common goal is to get out of lockdown – healthy, safe and free.
“But we will not get to freedom through exclusion. Covid passports would be the first attempt at segregation in the UK in many decades, dividing communities without reducing the risks.
“We are really in danger of becoming a checkpoint society where anyone from bouncers to bosses could ask to see our papers. We cannot allow this government to create a two tier nation of division, discrimination and injustice. “
Sam Grant, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Liberty, added, “We all want to get out of the pandemic as soon as possible, but we have to do it in a way that ensures we don’t enter a new normal that the pandemic does diminishes rights and freedoms that we took for granted before the Covid crisis. “