Oh dear. The House of Commons is due to vote on the government's 'Plan B' Covid strategy on Tuesday, with speculation mounting about the scale of parliamentary opposition to the proposed vaccine passports. Mr S has been keeping track of the number of Tory rebels with the current figure standing at 65 MPs – potentially the biggest rebellion since the 2019 election. But with Labour having already announced that they will back the government, it seems inevitable the restrictions will pass, regardless of the Covid Research Group's manoeuverings.
Still, amid talk of possible concessions, ministers continue to pay lip service to the notion that Parliament is being consulted on the issue. But now it seems that one of Sajid Javid's underlings at the Department of Health has let the cat out of the bag, with the ministry's official account breezily declaring this afternoon that 'from 15 December in England, you will need to show your NHS COVID Pass to enter places where large crowds gather, like nightclubs or big sporting events.' Not a great look when the vote hasn't even happened yet.
As CRG member Steve Baker pointed out: 'On the one hand, the outcome is a foregone conclusion thanks to our useless Opposition but it seems presumptuous at best to me – what do they think our democracy is for?' Mr S looks forward to one of Baker's colleagues asking Javid that very question the next time he comes to the House to announce further curbs. Let's just hope for his sake that Speaker Hoyle doesn't chastise Javid for making announcements in public before telling Parliament – again.
And that's not all, for it seems the government has been paying for adverts on Amazon's service Alexa, informing users that vaccine passports will be needed from 15 December – even though the vote is not until 14 December. Just how much taxpayers' money has been spent on this?