LAST night (Tuesday) MPs across the House of Commons were asked to vote on the Government’s proposals to bring in a Covid Pass Scheme for people wishing to access certain venues across our country.

After much consideration of how this will impact my constituents, I made the decision to vote against the Covid Pass scheme.

I have long been a critic of vaccine passports as I believe they infringe on the civil liberties that we in this country rightly hold so dear.

In Europe where vaccine passports are already in place cases have sky-rocketed, evidence that vaccine passports do not necessarily stop the transmission of Covid. Further, in Scotland and Wales, the implementation of vaccine passports has not led to a decrease in cases, and these devolved nations have had to implement further Covid restrictions, such as mask mandates, to assist with the controlling of cases.

Vaccine passports are also easily forged placing huge pressure on already overstretched door staff (due to national shortages) to identify fake passes. People rightly feel that their medical status is confidential so I question whether it’s right that we should be asking door staff to check the medical status of their customers.

The new rules on Covid Passports will affect business across Greater Manchester further with nightclubs and other venues only just getting back on their feet following successive lockdowns. As co-chair of the APPG on the Night-Time Economy, I could not support Plan B when I cast my vote.

I also feel the proposed restrictions are contradictory given that people have been asked to work from home but are still allowed to attend Christmas parties. When one set of restrictions don’t make sense, it devalues the entire package, making people across the country less likely to adhere to the rules.

Of course, I welcome the phenomenal ongoing effort of the Government and the NHS to roll out the vaccine programme and the incredible work of our medics and scientists to make sure we have a range of vaccines to protect against every variant of concern.

I would strongly encourage everyone to get jabbed as well as get their booster jabs as soon as they are called forward.

As we finally emerge out of this pandemic, we need to focus on ensuring the country is fully vaccinated to see off a resurgence of the disease so we can rebuild our economy to be stronger, greener, and more resilient than before.