Self-Proclaimed ‘Liberal’ Lawmaker: Young People Need ‘Coercion’ of Vaccine Passports

Students wait to receive a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Hunter Street Health Centre in London on June 5, 2021. - The UK government are set to decide on June 14 whether their plan to completely lift coronavirus restrictions will go ahead as …

A Labour peer who described herself as a “liberal” says that young people “need a little bit of coercion” in the form of forced vaccinations to attend university.

Reports from earlier this week claim that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is backing measures that could ban unvaccinated students from university accommodation and lectures, with a senior government source telling Sky News on Tuesday that “we aren’t ruling it out”.

The prime minister has already announced vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs from late September and possibly for Premier League football matches — all measures that appear to be targeting the younger generation.

Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO on Tuesday, the Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy defended the government’s threats against young people, implying that while in principle she was against a “show us your papers” society, forcing students to vaccinate in exchange for full inclusion in society was justified because “we’re in a crisis”.

Baroness Kennedy, a barrister who has spoken in the House of Commons on issues of human rights and civil liberties, said: “We’ve tried the business of persuading people, and it is the young who are resistant.”

While defending the prospect of vaccine passports — which she preferred to call “passes” — Ms Hartley-Brewer asked Kennedy if she still thought she was a liberal.

“I am a liberal,” the Labour peer said, adding: “People sometimes need a little bit of coercion.”

So far, the only mainstream political party to come out fully against vaccine passports are the Liberal Democrats. While Labour had initially said that it was “absolutely” against them, party leader Keir Starmer indicated that he might support vaccine passports in addition to negative test results for entry to sports stadiums.

Some 40 Conservatives are believed to be preparing to rebel against the government if the vaccine passes for nightclubs goes to the House of Commons for a vote, but much depends on Labour’s final position to stop the measures, as the Johnson administration commands a strong 83-seat majority.

One Tory lockdown sceptic, Robert Halfon MP, said of possible vaccine passports for university on talkRADIO on Tuesday morning that it would create a “have and have not education society”.

Mr Halfon went on to say it would result in a “kind of Brave New World where the technology of the state, in essence, creates new social hierarchies”.

“It’s the thin end of the wedge,” he added, saying: “If you say students can’t go to university, what are you going to? Are you going to withdraw students from Further Education colleges? Are you going to fire apprentices who haven’t had their vaccination passports yet from jobs? Are you going to remove young adults from adult learning community centres?”


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