Tory bid to halt vaccine passports scheme defeated at Holyrood

Douglas Ross said the Scottish Government had failed to listen to concerns about the scheme.

Tory bid to halt vaccine passports scheme defeated at Holyrood PA Media
The vaccine passport scheme for nightclubs and large events officially begins at 5am on October 1.

A Scottish Conservative attempt to halt the introduction of vaccine passports has been defeated at the Scottish Parliament.

The Tories had argued that the Scottish Government had failed to listen to concerns from the night-time industry about the scheme.

However, a motion from the party’s leader Douglas Ross’s was voted down following a debate in Holyrood on Wednesday.

Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats supported the Scottish Conservative motion while the SNP and Scottish Greens opposed it.

The vaccine passport scheme for nightclubs and large events officially begins at 5am on October 1, however a grace period means that businesses will not face the threat of enforcement action if they fail to comply with it until October 18.

Ross said: “To use that great Scottish word, this is a bourach, and the Deputy First Minister and the First Minister’s hands are all over it.

“We know, in the next few days when this is implemented from 5am on Friday, there will be countless problems.

“And I don’t celebrate that, but they have been warned about this and I hope on this final opportunity some SNP and Green members may see the light and see the difficulty their scheme is going to cause and vote against it.

“Certainly by supporting the Conservative motion today, we can stop this shambles of a scheme coming into effect.”

He said the definition of a nightclub would be “far more wide-ranging” than was originally expected.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf responded for the Scottish Government.

“We have listened to a range of stakeholders,” he told MSPs.

“In fact the announcements made by the First Minister yesterday, the fact that we will implement this scheme on Friday but of course not seek to enforce these measures until October 18, are an example of a government that is listening to business, that is an example of a government that has engaged with business.”

He pointed to scientific advice which said fully vaccinated individuals were less likely to transmit the virus.

Wales is also introducing a vaccine certification scheme and the UK Government is including it in its contingency planning, Yousaf said.

Scottish Labour’s Daniel Johnson said: “Yesterday’s announcement by the First Minister was an admission that the Scottish Government’s Covid passport policy is flawed, rushed and potentially damaging to jobs and businesses.

“You don’t announce a delay to a law 72 hours before it comes into force when it’s well prepared and thought through.

“You don’t delay it because it’s straightforward to implement, you don’t push it back when those tasked with enforcing it are well prepared.”

Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton reiterated his party’s opposition to vaccine passports.

He said: “My party’s misgivings about the prospect of Covid ID cards – which they are in all but name – are a matter of public record and we are being proven right with every passing day.

“They are illiberal, they are discriminatory and they may even breach people’s human rights.”

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