Many constituents and businesses have contacted me on the issue of vaccine passports and they have outlined their concerns about the implications such a step would hold for civil liberties.
Firstly, I should make it very clear that I do not believe that vaccine passports offer either the safest - or most appropriate - way out of the restrictions under which we’ve been living for close to a year. Equality under the law is an indivisible principle which underpins our way of life - and any attempt to apportion the freedoms which we all (rightly) take for granted according to the receipt of a vaccination sets, I believe, a dangerous precedent.
Of course, the vaccine rollout itself - and the extraordinary achievement of those in Somerset who’ve ensured we’re leading the nation in terms of the rapidity of the rollout - is enormously welcome. And it does bring the prospect of a return to normality, the re-opening of the economy and the chance for all of us to regain the liberties which we’ve temporarily relinquished.
But although I do anticipate that international travel may be a little circumscribed in the short-to-medium term, I certainly don’t think we should see the right to resume our domestic, individual freedoms as contingent on the basis of receiving a vaccination. I was heartened to hear the Prime Minister rule out governing entrance to pubs or restaurants according to the possession of a vaccine passport yesterday - and I will be arguing for that principle to be reflected in the Government’s wider approach to loosening social restrictions, too.