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Surprise u-turn

Sturgeon isolated after Javid drops jabs passports

Divided opinion: Nicola Sturgeon and Sajid Javid

Nicola Sturgeon’s vaccine passport initiative is facing further pressure after the UK Health Secretary announced he was dropping plans for a similar scheme in England.

Sajid Javid today made the surprise decision to kill off the idea following a backlash from Tory MPs who branded them “unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory”.

It means those visiting nightclubs and major events in England will not be required to prove they have been double vaccinated against Covid.

Mr Javid said the government had looked at the evidence for introducing vaccine passports. “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead,” he said.

The astonishing reversal comes just a week after Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the end of September was the right time to start the vaccine passport scheme for sites with large crowds because all over-18s would have been offered two jabs by then and it was the “best way” to keep the night industry open.

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The SNP government is to go ahead with vaccine certification from 1 October after rejecting opposition from the Conservatives, Labour and LibDems who have stepped up their calls for the scheme to be dropped following the announcement from Westminster.

Commenting on Mr Javid’s decision, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: “This is a triumph for privacy campaigners.

“It’s sad to see that the Conservative government in Westminster has more concern for medical privacy than the SNP-Green coalition in Scotland does.

“The solution to the current crisis is vaccinations and a functioning contact tracing system, not Covid ID cards. You shouldn’t have to share your private medical information with someone who is not your clinician.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will campaign for these illiberal and intrusive ID cards to be abolished here in Scotland.”

The latest move came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give holidaymakers a huge boost this week by relieving double-jabbed travellers from having to take expensive PCR Covid tests when returning to the UK.

Mr Johnson will also scrap some of the swinging powers that the government took to manage the response to the disease, and all-but rule out further lockdowns to control an anticipated surge over the coming months – after scientists said vaccinations can be an effective first line of defence. 

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