Covid passport: People ‘won’t go down without a fight’ says Singh
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans on Tuesday for coronavirus status passports, which would force Scots to prove they have been vaccinated. The Scottish Greens have previously voiced opposition to the plans, and have now joined the SNP in a co-operation agreement.
Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, Green Party co-leaders on Holyrood, have been confirmed as Scottish Government ministers.
Now, the Scottish Liberal Democrats are urging the Greens to stay firm on their opposition to Covid passports.
Willie Rennie, former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, said: “I agreed with Patrick Harvie when he stood firmly against this measure in recent weeks.
“But I am alarmed that he and his colleagues may vote for it next week.”
Continuing his remarks, Mr Rennie said: “If Patrick Harvie doesn’t stand up to the SNP on this important issue he will be pushed around for the rest of the parliament.
“The coalition Government is crossing a line. To move from the state encouraging people to get vaccinated to compelling them to do so is a major step.
“The IT system can’t cope with the current demand for vaccine passports for foreign travel so I can’t see how it will cope with this massive increase in demand.
“We know government often fails when it is managing massive IT projects and this one is being done in a rush so I fear the consequences of this for people and businesses across the country.
“The Green coalition ministers will know all this so I just can’t understand why they won’t stand up to the SNP. I would urge them to do so before it is too late.”
In February, Mr Harvie warned vaccine passports risked “making the social inequality that we face today even worse” and “could set a dangerous precedent for the longer term, in that people’s civil rights would be dependent on their medical history”.
However, when asked by ITV Border whether he would vote against Ms Sturgeon’s plans on Thursday, Mr Harvie admitted the Scottish Government would have a “single position” on the issue.
He said: “What I think is important is for the whole parliament to get a chance to debate this and see how the arguments have changed over time.
“If we are now at a point where this is only coming in once that difference in age cohorts has been overcome and almost everybody will have had access to both doses of the vaccine then I think that some of those arguments have changed based on where we would have been several months ago.”
Speaking on Tuesday, the First Minister announced plans where proof of vaccination will be needed for nightclubs as well as any unseated indoor live event with more than 500 people in the audience.
Proof of vaccination will also be needed to attend any unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people attending, and at any event with more than 10,000 in the crowd.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We do not want to reimpose any of the restrictions that have been in place for much of this year as we all know how much harm they have caused to businesses, to education and to people’s general wellbeing but we must stem the rise in cases.
“We believe that a limited use of vaccine certification in certain higher-risk settings could help us to keep businesses open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.”
The plans sparked outrage from Scottish Conservatives and some nightclub owners.
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, said hospitality groups, sports clubs and venues have “no idea” how the certification scheme will work.
He added SNP ministers could not even define a “nightclub” after John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, admitted there was a “pretty fine line” whether the passport scheme would apply in some licensed premises.
Donald MacLeod, owner of legendary venues The Garage and The Cathouse, told The Daily Record: “It’s an absolute disgrace.
“I don’t think it’s been thought through. If a vaccine passport is being brought in, it should be one for all, all for one. It should not just target clubs and events.”
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