Scottish Government plans for coronavirus vaccine passports have been branded an “absolute sham” by Tories, with the First Minister coming under fire for having so far failed to put forward details of how the scheme will work.
MSPs are due to vote on the planned introduction of a vaccination certification scheme in Holyrood on Thursday.
But a week after Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to bring in such a scheme for venues such as night clubs, and events such as larger football matches and music festivals, the Tories said key questions still needed to be answered.
Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, challenged Ms Sturgeon on the issue at Holyrood, saying that while she may have promised to publish a paper on how the system would work, it was “not good enough” to do this “just hours before Parliament is expected to vote”.
The Tory hit out: “So far there is no details and no answers on the SNP’s plans.
“We wanted to look at the content of the First Minister’s proposals – but quite frankly there is nothing to scrutinise.”
Mr Ross continued: “We need specifics but we don’t have them. We don’t know how the scheme will be administered, or enforced. We don’t know if the data concerns have been fixed.
“We don’t know if the SNP will rule out extending them indefinitely or rolling them out to further venues at short notice.”
He told Ms Sturgeon: “We have been asking these questions for a week now and have received no answers.
“This is clearly a last minute, rushed job and the more businesses hear about the proposals the more they agree they are an absolute sham.”
Ms Sturgeon, however, insisted it was “absolutely right and proper that” that her Government was continuing to work with affected sectors “to make sure we take account of their views and concerns as we finalise the detail”.
But Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar claimed there had only been “limited engagement with businesses about the details of the programme and how it will actually work in practice”.
With Labour MSPs to vote against the plans, he insisted his party’s stance was “not opposition for opposition’s sake”, telling the First Minister: “At key moments throughout the pandemic we have supported the Government.”
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs however that a “limited, targeted and proportionate system of certification” could be an “alternative to the risk of further periods of closure for higher risk settings”.
She added: “It is important to bear in mind that Scotland is far from alone in considering such a scheme.
“Indeed, Covid certification has already been introduced by several other governments – of different political persuasions – in countries right across Europe. Indeed, many countries have already gone much further than we are proposing.”
Such schemes are “becoming an increasingly common response to the exceptional circumstances we are all facing in this stage of the pandemic,” the First Minister insisted.
She told MSPs that what ministers at Holyrood are proposing is “also being proposed by the UK Government for England” – adding that Mr Ross may end up in the “ridiculous position” of opposing a scheme in Scotland that is the same as the one the Tories are implementing south of the border.
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