Weston and North Somerset MPs rebel on vaccine passports

North Somerset MP Liam Fox as well as Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose said placing North Somerset into Tier 3...

Liam Fox and John Penrose voted against Boris Johnson's plans to introduce vaccine passports. - Credit: Archant

Both Weston and North Somerset's MPs rebelled against Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a vote on plans to introduce vaccine passports to enter nightclubs or large venues.

The regulation was ultimately passed through the House of Commons although John Penrose and Dr Liam Fox were two of 99 Conservative MPs who voted against the plans - the biggest rebellion under Mr Johnson's reign.

Votes were also cast on plans to expand the legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor settings and to set a mandatory vaccine for all NHS and social care staff by April 2022.

People are being urged to get vaccinated and boosted.

NHS and social care staff will have to be vaccinated by April 2022 according to the latest rule change. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Both Weston's and North Somerset's MPs agreed with the Prime Minister that face coverings should now be worn in banks, places of worship, public areas in hotels and hostels and museums to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

However, while Mr Penrose voted in favour of the mandatory vaccine for NHS and social care staff, Liam Fox voted against the amendment.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Liam Fox insisted that the government does not 'underplay the success of the vaccine programme' which gives 'both individual and community protection'.

He said: "I do not believe that passports pass the necessity test, I think the good working from the insurance industry and the ability of civil remedy in the courts is enough to drive venues to sensible public health policy.

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"We as a government should not be creating criminal offences unnecessarily, I worry about enforcement and penalties on a system that is already overloaded."

Dr Fox also voiced his concerns that the mandatory vaccine for NHS and social care staff would see keyworkers leave their roles.

He added: "It is likely that we will lose staff as a consequence, in my view unnecessarily, when we have seen more than 91 per cent of NHS staff have already volunteered to or have had the vaccine.

"I also believe it is illogical because if the Government's position on vaccine passports is that you must be given a choice between being vaccinated and getting a daily lateral flow test then why does that not operate for NHS staff as well?"

Weston's MP, John Penrose told the Mercury that he voted for short-term procedures and was against the idea of "papers please" society.

Mr Penrose said: "Residents want to be kept safe from the new ‘Omicron’ covid variant, but to get back to normal life as soon as it is safe too.

"So I supported some very short term extra precautions like wearing masks as an insurance policy, because no-one wants another lockdown, but not the vaccine passports that would take us further from normal life by turning us into a two-tier, ‘papers please’ society.

"I would like to thank everyone for all their messages of support since the votes took place – it is good to know people agree."

Wells representative, James Heapey voted in favour of all three rule changes.

For more information on when you can get vaccinated or a boost, visit www.grabajab.net