Emily Thornberry Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury
Thank you for contacting me in support of the Night Time Industries Association and their campaign against the use of compulsory ‘vaccine passports’ to enter nightclubs and other live events.
Since the start of the pandemic, many constituents have been in touch with me about the challenges the night time economy is facing, and the many ways in the government has failed to provide support to the sector.
I understand that you think that the current ‘vaccine passports’ policy, which is set to come into effect at the end of September, is unfair and divisive, particularly against young people. As we both know, young adults were the last group to be granted the ability to receive the Coronavirus vaccine, and young people are known to frequent venues such as nightclubs.
I was shocked to read in POLITICO last month that the Prime Minister told the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs that he is “using the threat of [a] domestic vaccine passport” to get the 3 million young people who are yet to receive the vaccine to do so. I think that this is a new low, even for the Prime Minister. Young people’s health and livelihoods should not be used as bait in this manner.
Until very recently, cultural venues like nightclubs had been required to close their doors for almost 18 months, with no specific package of support offered to them by the government. Labour have been consistently arguing that the government should introduce sector-specific support to help struggling sectors. The government’s one-size-fits-all approach to economic support has fallen well short of the mark, particularly as far as businesses operating in the night time economy are concerned.
It is clear that the government needs to do a lot more to support businesses operating in the night time economy in the short, medium and long term. However, in the Labour Party, we are not convinced that requiring people to present Coronavirus vaccine passports to enter nightclubs from the end of September is the right solution. This is yet another example of the government delaying inevitable action – as if the virus is not currently able to run rampant through nightclubs. A different solution is needed.
Thank you again for contacting me about this very important issue. I hope that you and your family are keeping safe and well.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade