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CORONAVIRUS: Why these Local MPs voted against mandatory jabs and vaccine passports in Plan B vote

CORONAVIRUS: Why these Local MPs voted against mandatory jabs and vaccine passports in Plan B vote

Credit: Rebecca Long-Bailey

A Tory rebellion received much of the attention from this week’s vote on new controversial Covid rules which required Labour votes to be passed into law.

But in Salford, two Labour MPs voted against the Plan B measures – defying their own party whip – because they believe the new restrictions will not work.

The ‘Plan B’ measures mean people will now need ‘vaccine passports’ to enter some venues and make face coverings compulsory in most indoor spaces.

Vaccinations will also be mandatory for frontline health and social care staff.

Nearly 100 Conservative MPs voted against their own government’s proposals – the largest backbench rebellion since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

Labour’s support for the new restrictions saved the government from defeat.

Nonetheless, among the Labour MPs who voted against Plan B measures were Graham Stringer MP, and Rebecca Long-Bailey MP.

There were three separate votes in Parliament on Tuesday (December 14) – one on reintroducing face coverings in certain settings, another on mandatory vaccinations for health and social care workers and a third on Covid passes.

Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey voted in favour of the new face mask rules, but she voted against mandatory vaccinations and Covid passes.

She fears ‘vaccine passports’ could give people a false sense of security that they cannot transmit the virus.

The Labour MP, who sits on the science and technology committee, said regular testing would be a more effective measure to stop the spread.

Similarly, she does not think forcing NHS staff to be vaccinated will prevent infections – and she does not believe that vaccinations should be mandatory.

She said: “I strongly support everybody getting vaccinated and I’d encourage everyone that I know to get vaccinated.

“But whether you choose to take the vaccine or not, it should be based on your individual choice.”

Broughton and Blackley MP Graham Stringer agrees that making vaccines mandatory is not effective – nor would ‘vaccine passports’ be, he argues.

He believes that Covid passes breach the principle of health confidentiality – which is why he voted against this measure.

And he claims the government did not spend enough time persuading people that they would work and did not sufficiently justify its proposals to parliament.

But principally, he did not want to support Boris Johnson’s government.

He said: “I agree with Keir Starmer. The Prime Minister is a threat to public health.

“But I drew a different conclusion from him – not to support his proposals.

“We’ve got an epidemic going on and the man in charge is making it worse.”

The MP who represents parts of Manchester said he believes vaccines are the ‘best defence’ against the disease, but ‘compulsion makes people distrustful’.

He also raised concerns that Covid passes, which proves a person has had two vaccine doses, would create a ‘two-tier’ society with ‘second-class citizens’.

The government says proof a negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.

The Department for Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

Words: Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter

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