Covid pass starts in England despite biggest rebellion of Johnson era

Author : rian26
Publish Date : 2021-12-15 00:00:00


Covid pass starts in England despite biggest rebellion of Johnson era

The new rules - which kick in today - require proof of double-vaccination, or a recent negative test, to enter certain venues.

MPs approved the measure in Tuesday's vote on England's new Covid rules.

Despite the revolt by 99 Tory MPs, the plans passed thanks to Labour support.

The Commons also backed - with smaller Conservative rebellions - the continuation of mandatory mask-wearing in most indoor settings, and compulsory vaccination for NHS workers in England.

The scrapping of self-isolation for fully vaccinated Covid contacts - in favour of daily lateral flow tests - passed unanimously without a vote.


The rebellion on Covid passes was by far the biggest since Boris Johnson took office.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a "very significant blow to the already damaged authority of the prime minister".

"It confirms that he's too weak to discharge the basic functions of government," he claimed.

One Tory rebel, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Browne, said the scale of the revolt meant a leadership challenge to Mr Johnson had "got to be on the cards" next year.

And former Tory chief whip, Mark Harper MP, said: "You either listen and you respond and you do things differently - or you ignore what you have been told and you plough on regardless, and then this will happen over and over again."

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What are the new Covid pass rules for England?
Over-18s in England must prove they are double vaccinated against Covid-19, had a negative PCR or lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours, or have an exemption, to enter large events and venues
This can be shown via the NHS Covid Pass or with a text message or email from NHS Test and Trace
The rules apply to nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people
Covid passport schemes are already in operation in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
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On Tuesday, England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty warned senior ministers that hospitals were facing a significant increase in the number of people being admitted with the Omicron variant.

Speaking at the same virtual cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of a "huge spike" of infections - but Downing Street has insisted no further Covid restrictions are being planned.

2px presentational grey line
Not just a slap on the wrist
Analysis box by Laura Kuenssberg, political editor
Boris Johnson didn't lose. But no prime minister wants to feel they're losing the argument in much of their own party.

And the scale of the rebellion is even worse than predicted. Not just a slap on the wrist for Mr Johnson, but a very serious rejection of his plan.

Something that can't be dismissed, despite his own personal appeals to his ranks.

Read more from Laura here
2px presentational grey line
On Tuesday, the UK recorded 59,610 new Covid cases, the highest number since January, along with 150 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test.

The UK Health Security Agency said 633 further UK Omicron cases were reported on Tuesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases of the variant to 5,346.

Meanwhile, a total of 513,722 booster and third doses were given across the UK on Monday.

In Scotland have been urged to limit socialising to three households at a time, with shops and hospitality venues to be told to reinstate physical distancing and protective screens.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the advice would not apply on Christmas Day and that plans should not be cancelled.

The new rules - which kick in today - require proof of double-vaccination, or a recent negative test, to enter certain venues.

MPs approved the measure in Tuesday's vote on England's new Covid rules.

Despite the revolt by 99 Tory MPs, the plans passed thanks to Labour support.

The Commons also backed - with smaller Conservative rebellions - the continuation of mandatory mask-wearing in most indoor settings, and compulsory vaccination for NHS workers in England.

The scrapping of self-isolation for fully vaccinated Covid contacts - in favour of daily lateral flow tests - passed unanimously without a vote.


The rebellion on Covid passes was by far the biggest since Boris Johnson took office.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a "very significant blow to the already damaged authority of the prime minister".

"It confirms that he's too weak to discharge the basic functions of government," he claimed.

One Tory rebel, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Browne, said the scale of the revolt meant a leadership challenge to Mr Johnson had "got to be on the cards" next year.

And former Tory chief whip, Mark Harper MP, said: "You either listen and you respond and you do things differently - or you ignore what you have been told and you plough on regardless, and then this will happen over and over again."

2px presentational grey line
What are the new Covid pass rules for England?
Over-18s in England must prove they are double vaccinated against Covid-19, had a negative PCR or lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours, or have an exemption, to enter large events and venues
This can be shown via the NHS Covid Pass or with a text message or email from NHS Test and Trace
The rules apply to nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people
Covid passport schemes are already in operation in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
2px presentational grey line
On Tuesday, England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty warned senior ministers that hospitals were facing a significant increase in the number of people being admitted with the Omicron variant.

Speaking at the same virtual cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of a "huge spike" of infections - but Downing Street has insisted no further Covid restrictions are being planned.

2px presentational grey line
Not just a slap on the wrist
Analysis box by Laura Kuenssberg, political editor
Boris Johnson didn't lose. But no prime minister wants to feel they're losing the argument in much of their own party.

And the scale of the rebellion is even worse than predicted. Not just a slap on the wrist for Mr Johnson, but a very serious rejection of his plan.

Something that can't be dismissed, despite his own personal appeals to his ranks.

Read more from Laura here
2px presentational grey line
On Tuesday, the UK recorded 59,610 new Covid cases, the highest number since January, along with 150 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test.

The UK Health Security Agency said 633 further UK Omicron cases were reported on Tuesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases of the variant to 5,346.

Meanwhile, a total of 513,722 booster and third doses were given across the UK on Monday.

In Scotland have been urged to limit socialising to three households at a time, with shops and hospitality venues to be told to reinstate physical distancing and protective screens.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the advice would not apply on Christmas Day and that plans should not be cancelled.



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