Scottish Tories plan last ditch bid to derail Covid vaccine passports

Scheme will come into effect on Friday but a grace period will apply before businesses face threat of enforcement action.

Scottish Tories plan last ditch bid to derail Covid vaccine passports SNS Group
People attending large scale events will be subject to vaccine passport spot checks.

Scottish Conservatives will mount a last ditch attempt to force the Scottish Government to ditch its controversial plans for coronavirus vaccine passports.

With the scheme due to come in on Friday, the Tories will use their opposition debating time in Holyrood on Wednesday to challenge the move.

However, despite Labour and the Lib Dems also being opposed to the scheme, the motion is unlikely to succeed, with the support of the Scottish Greens providing the Scottish Government with the necessary votes to see off the challenge.

The debate comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that while the scheme will still come in from 5am on October 1, a grace period means that businesses will not face the threat of enforcement action if they fail to comply with it until October 18.

Sturgeon told MSPs the move to allow a grace period was a “very pragmatic compromise” – despite claims from the opposition that the vaccine certification scheme is a “shambles” that should be scrapped.

The motion the Conservatives will bring to Parliament calls on the Government “not to proceed with its plans to introduce a Covid-19 vaccine certification scheme”.

Meanwhile, the Night Times Industries Association has launched a legal challenge over the scheme.

Under the Government’s plans, those going to nightclubs and other large scale events will have to show that they have had two doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Tory Covid-19 recovery spokesman, Murdo Fraser, said: “Businesses say this scheme is flawed. It will drive up their costs. It’s ripe for fraud. They will get no help to administer it.

“They’re still waiting for essential information and guidance because once again, the SNP has left it to the very last minute.”

He continued: “The SNP’s poor planning has scuppered this scheme before it even begins.

“They have refused to debate the flaws, so we will use our own Parliamentary time to make them face scrutiny.”

But Scottish Green health spokeswoman Gillian Mackay said the Tories had adopted an “utterly reckless approach to Covid”.

Mackay said: “Their obsession with putting economic growth before lives is apparent in their motion and the complacent approach to other mitigations like mask wearing.

“This disregard for people has meant a removal of furlough, a cut to benefits and the opening up of international travel when importing new variants would pose a risk to Scotland’s recovery from Covid.

“Scotland is in the unenviable position of having to manage this reckless approach by using what limited powers we have in proportionate and targeted ways, and now the Scottish Tories want to remove these safeguards.

“Any responsible Government has to do what it can to limit the spread of the virus using the powers it has, but it is clear the Conservatives have no interest in such responsibilities.”

Under the scheme, vaccine passports will be required for entry into nightclubs, as well as indoor live events with more than 500 people unseated and outdoor live events with more than 4000 people unseated.

Any event attended by a crowd of more than 10,000 people will also require a vaccine passport for entry.