British foreign secretary Dominic Raab predicted on Sunday that businesses in the United Kingdom will begin requiring a form of vaccine passport for their customers.
In the latest example of the mixed messages coming from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on the issue of vaccine passports, Mr Raab said that the government is considering the implementation of such a scheme on the “domestic or local level”.
While the government previously came out against the use of vaccine passports, the foreign secretary told LBC Radio that in places such as supermarkets the idea: “hasn’t been ruled out and it’s under consideration, but of course you’ve got to make it workable.”
“Whether it’s at an international, domestic or local level, you’ve got to know that the document being presented is something that you can rely on and that it’s an accurate reflection of the status of the individual,” he said.
“I’m not sure there’s a foolproof answer in the way that it’s sometimes presented but of course we’ll look at all the options,” Raab added.
However, a government spokesman later told the radio station: “There are no plans to introduce immunity passports for use domestically.”
The director of the civil liberties watchdog, Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo criticised the idea in an interview with BBC Radio 4, saying: “We have to ask ourselves, what really is the purpose of a vaccine passport? Well, the core purpose is to afford more rights to vaccinated people than to everyone else.”
She claimed that the introduction of vaccine passports will create a “health apartheid” state in the UK, which Carlo said is “completely wrong for a country where rights and equality matter”.
Q: Will you need “a domestic vaccine passport to go into a supermarket”?
A: “It’s something that hasn’t been ruled out, it’s under consideration” – @DominicRaab
A dangerously irrational and draconian response from one of the highest offices of state.
— Big Brother Watch (@BigBrotherWatch) February 14, 2021
Britain’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi previously predicted that businesses in the UK would require immunity passports for their customers, however, this month the Conservative MP ruled out the use of the health passes, describing the system as “discriminatory.”
Yet, the British government has reportedly been funding projects that would create QR code smartphone applications that could serve as a basis for such a scheme.
Several countries within the European Union have already announced their intentions to roll out health passes, with the government of Denmark planning to become the first country to introduce a passport this month.
Last week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis — one of the leading champions of the idea in the EU — announced that his government would be partnering with Israel to introduce a “trial run” vaccine passport system between the two countries.
On Sunday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair — the most outspoken proponent of vaccine passports in the UK — said that they will become inevitable and that Britain should lead the way in adopting the programme.
“This is not about discrimination, or hostility towards those not vaccinated or tested. It is a completely understandable desire to know whether those we mix with might be carrying the disease,” Blair wrote in the Daily Mail.
Mr Blair said that his think tank, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, is currently involved in helping craft health passport models, including the CommonPass initiative being pushed by the architects of the so-called ‘Great Reset‘, the World Economic Forum.
“We have the technology which allows us to do this securely and effectively. The need is obvious. The world is moving in this direction,” the former Labour leader said, adding: “We should plan for an agreed ‘passport’ now. The arguments against it really don’t add up.”
British government sources believe bosses will be able to use Health and Safety regulations to fire workers who do not get vaccinated. https://t.co/sFgMFKjp8D
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 8, 2021
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka