News & Commentary United Kingdom

“Doesn’t Apply”: MPs Exempt Themselves from Vaccine Passport in the House of Commons

"It would be outrageous if the executive were to attempt to prevent any Member of Parliament attending this House to represent our constituents without first undergoing a medical procedure."
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MPs in the UK will not be required to use the Government’s mandatory vaccine passes when entering the House of Commons, the Speaker said on Tuesday.

The decision comes a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Government’s plans to implement a vaccine passport necessary to gain entry into crowded venues.

“By the end of September, were all over-18s have had the chance to be double-jabbed, we’re planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather,” Johnson said.

Adding, “Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough.”

According to The Telegraph, the Commons chamber would be a prime candidate for mandatory COVID passes, which ministers have said will be used for any venues with “large numbers of people,” as the chamber regularly accommodated more than half the 650 MPs pre-pandemic.

Mark Harper, who served as chair of the COVID Recovery Group, sought assurance from the Speaker this week, saying the Government’s definition could equally apply to the House of Commons.

“It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, particularly on a Wednesday, when we get back to normal, that definition could equally apply to this House of Commons,” Harper said.

“It would be outrageous if the executive were to attempt to prevent any Member of Parliament attending this House to represent our constituents without first undergoing a medical procedure.”

Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, replied: “I have had no indication that the Government considers the policy he’s mentioned should apply to this House. There is nothing to stop a member from coming into here, you have the right to come to this House unless this House otherwise says so.

“The Government’s not been in touch. I don’t expect them to be in touch because, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t apply to members,” he added.

It would seem George Orwell’s old adage rings true: All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

What these sorts will eventually learn the hard way is that rules applied inconsistently, especially when exemptions appear to be self-serving, might make life temporarily easier for MPs, but they will foster a dissatisfaction in the minds of the public that will give rise to the sort of skepticism and “conspiracy theories” Parliamentarians often lament.

For as long as the authorities drag out the COVID Chronicles by applying arbitrary laws, endless lockdowns, inconsistent restrictions, and draconian measures, public frustrations will increase. And before long, people will begin suspecting that the war against a virus we cannot beat has more to do with government control than it does public health, whether those suspicions are right or wrong.


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