A group of Liberal Democrats in the West Midlands have come together, signing a public letter opposing the introduction of "Vaccine Passports".
The Lib Dem WMCA Mayoral, PCC, and local election candidates in the West Midlands have signed the letter. They are joined by the former MEP for the region, along with other health experts, previously elected politicians and other party activists and officers.
The letter details the opposition to the so called passports, which would see the creation of a two-tier society, which unfairly punishes people who haven't, or can't, get vaccinated. This "creeping authoritarianism", as Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey put it, must be opposed.
The government has repeatedly confused the public with conflicting advice, and we should be sticking to what we know works - vaccination where people can, social distancing, mask wearing, good personal hygiene. This is the way out of the pandemic, not authoritarian control.
We oppose the introduction of "COVID/Vaccine passports". They are as illiberal as they are unworkable. The government has repeatedly confused the public during the pandemic with conflicting advice, contributing to 3 lockdowns, avoidable harm, avoidable deaths, and worsening the outlook for jobs and businesses.
We don't ask anyone to share their medical history to go to the supermarket. Singling out businesses on the high street, and in the night-time economy, to bring in expensive and unworkable checkpoints is deeply illiberal, and further threatens the viability of these businesses.
We understand that not everyone follows the guidance, and that it can be difficult in public settings. It's also the case that vaccines are not mandatory (although we strongly urge people to take them, where possible), and some people cannot have them for medical or other reasons. However, the liberal society we seek to protect is based on treating everyone fairly, and not creating a two-tier approach to the public, which this measure would bring in.
We also accept that we need to secure our personal and public health, in order to use our liberty. But we already have the means by which to do this. The best way to protect yourself, your families, and our communities is to get vaccinated where you can. To keep up with regular hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing. The government also needs to fix the repeatedly failing "Test & Trace'' system, which is a vital tool in ending the pandemic.
We will get through this, together. We're almost there. But we won't be helped by illiberal, government intrusion into our personal lives, with yet another ill-thought out, rash decision, with hints of authoritarianism.
Jenny Wilkinson, WMCA Mayoral Candidate;
Cllr Jon Hunt (Birmingham Perry Barr), West Midlands PCC Candidate, Leader of Lib Dem Birmingham Group;
Phil Bennion, Former MEP for the West Midlands;
Sadie Smith, Former Mayor of Sandwell,
Dr David Nicholl (Bromsgrove) West Midlands Health Spokesperson
Lee Dargue, Birmingham Ladywood parliamentary spokesperson, Chair Lib Dem Health & Care Association;
Cllr Roger Harmer (Birmingham Acocks Green), Deputy Leader of Lib Dem Birmingham Group;
Izzy Knowles, Birmingham Hall Green parliamentary spokesperson;
Joanna McKenna, Bromsgrove, Local Election Candidate;
Ryan Priest, Dudley, Local Election Candidate;
Alec Sandiford, Stafford & Stone, Local Party Chair and Local Election Candidate;
Andrew Spruce, Hall Green North, By-election Candidate;
Jemma Charlton, Herefordshire, Party Activist;
David Goodall, Telford & Wrekin, Party Activist;