MPs have voted in favour of new measures to combat Omicron, despite a significant Tory rebellion.
They voted 369 to 126 in favour of so-called Covid passports, which will require people to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter nightclubs and large events.
Regulations to extend the requirement to wear face coverings to more indoor spaces in England – including museums and galleries – passed more easily with 441 votes to 41.
MPs also approved regulations to drop the requirement to isolate and instead
do daily Covid tests for those fully vaccinated people who are contacts of a
positive Covid case.
The ‘Covid passport’ measures had proved particularly controversial before the vote, with many Conservative representatives saying they would not support them.
Tim Loughton MP said: ‘It’s passport creep… however much we want to get people vaccinated, we do not want a society where we ask for papers and deprive people of their liberty and on mandatory vaccinations for the NHS, I will certainly vote against it.’
Following the vote, Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said that Boris Johnson’s authority is ‘shattered’ following the rebellion.
He told Sky News: ‘That is an extraordinary, extraordinary rebellion. The Government has lost its majority. I think the size of that vote is a reflection of the shattered authority of Boris Johnson.
‘He is undermining public health at a critical moment for our country. I think he has got to ask himself if he is the right man to lead our country through the next phase of the pandemic.’
Following the vote, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, commented: ‘We are disappointed that MPs have today voted in to law covid passports for nightclubs.
‘The NTIA have consistently opposed their introduction due to the many logistical challenges they pose for night time economy businesses and what we have seen in Scotland and Wales where they have dampened trade by 30% and 26% respectively.
‘This is a slippery path we are going down. I would urge the Government to listen to its backbenchers now – this far and no further.’
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