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Vaccine Passport Regime Imposed on Wales After Law Passed by Just One Vote

By VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

Vaccine passports for nightclubs, stadiums, and other large venues have come into effect in Wales after regional legislation passed in the Welsh Assembly by just one vote last week.Over-18s in Wales must use the NHS Covid Pass to prove either vaccination or a negative lateral flow test to enter nightclubs, indoor non-seated events with more than 500 people, outdoor non-seated events with more than 4,000, and any event where there are more than 10,000 attendees.

Steve Baker MP called the regional law “awful” and not a “proportional response to the threat we face now the vaccines are working”.

“I think if people really want to go to events, now, with current levels of vaccination we have, it really should be a matter for people to chose their level of risk,” Mr Baker, from the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer on Monday.

“We really should be allowing people to bear their own risk, now,” he added.

The measures were passed by Members of the Senedd (Welsh Assembly) last Tuesday by just one vote, with reports at the time claiming that Conservative MS Gareth Davies was unable to vote against the measures due to technical difficulties which meant he could not log into the regional legislature’s Zoom call.

Had he voted and there been a tie, the Labour Party-backed measures would not have been passed.

 

However, reports in subsequent days claim that Davies, who was at Conservative Party conference in Manchester, England at the time, was actually given plenty of opportunities to get in contact with the Senedd’s presiding officer, including being offered the option to vote by telephone.“He was given a phone number to inform the Llywydd [presiding officer] of his voting intention but he never made the call and that’s why we’re all scratching our heads wondering why he is blaming IT when he didn’t make the phone call.

“The fact he was at his party conference shows where his priorities lie,” one MS told WalesOnline.

Davies claimed he could not ring in his vote as he was on the phone at the time trying to sort out his IT problems.

The director of the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, remarked last Wednesday: “There are still two conflicting reports of what happened in Wales’ vaccine passport vote yesterday. Gareth Davies owes constituents and the country a full, honest explanation. People will not trust the democratic process without the cause of this shambles made crystal clear.”

London Assembly member and Heritage Party leader David Kurten said on Monday: “There are serious questions being raised about the account given by Tory Gareth Davies on why he missed the vote in the Senedd which implemented ‘vaccine passports’ in Wales.”

Wales becomes the second Home Nation in the United Kingdom to introduce domestic vaccine passports after Scotland’s left-separatist regional government enforced the documents for entry to similar-sized venues earlier this month.

Similar plans were to be introduced in England in September but were cancelled. However, they remain in reserve if hospital numbers increase over winter.

Conservative MP Chris Green said last week that England should be “deeply concerned” after the measures were passed in Wales, warning that as half of the UK now have vaccine passports, it would only be a matter of time before England and Northern Ireland “each have their own ID card”.

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