Tory MPs lined up to declare they will boycott party conference in Manchester after it was revealed Covid passports will be required.
Tory insiders have told MailOnline that proof people are double-jabbed is set to be required at the gathering in Manchester in October.
The system is expected to be used even if the law has not been changed to make vaccine passports compulsory at major events and nightclubs – as Boris Johnson has warned could happen in September.
The news sparked fury from Tory MPs, who have been vowing to revolt against the measures if they are brought to a vote in the Commons.
Backbenchers Steve Baker, Peter Bone, Chris Green and Mark Jenkinsons were among those pledging they will stay away from the event.
Bolton MP Mr Green suggested they could set up a ‘Freedom Zone’ outside the security fences.
But a senior Tory source said: ‘We are the governing party – we will have to obey the guidance.
‘Even if it is not the law, we will still need to do what the government is recommending for major events.’
The insider dismissed the concerns from Tory backbenchers – believed to be shared by some in Cabinet – pointing out that the public’s view was rather different.
‘Some MPs might not like it, but all the polling suggests the public are quite strongly in favour of Covid passports,’ they said.
‘That looks to be truer for the older generations who are more at risk, and might be wanting to come along.’
Covid passports will be required a Conservative Party conference despite rebel MPs threatening to boycott the event. Pictured, Boris Johnson addressing the last in-person conference in Manchester in 2019
Tory MPs and peers today declared they will not attend party conference if a Covid passport is required
Bolton MP Chris Green suggested there should be a ‘Freedom Zone’ outside the conference to avoid having to use vaccine passports
Tory insiders told MailOnline that proof people are double-jabbed is set to be required at the gathering in Manchester in October. Pictured, activists queue at the event in 2019
Mr Johnson (pictured in self-isolation yesterday) announced this week that proof of double vaccination will be a ‘condition of entry’ to nightclubs and other busy venues from September
Conservative Party conference was reduced to a ‘virtual’ event last year, with ministers giving speeches into camera and online discussion forums.
However, it is due to be ‘hybrid’ this year after almost all legal restrictions were axed on July 19.
Members, journalists and politicians will gather in Manchester, but there will also be extensive access on a virtual platform.
The Government announced this week that proof of double vaccination will be a ‘condition of entry’ to nightclubs and other busy venues from September.
But a senior Labour source said ministers should require a negative test instead – as even the fully-vaccinated can spread coronavirus.
‘For nightclubs, sporting events or whatever it may be, a negative test is worth more than being double-jabbed,’ the source said.
Cabinet ministers are also critical of the plan, with one questioning whether it was being floated just to encourage young people to get the jab.
They said it would be unnecessary if 85 per cent of young people are jabbed by September.
‘I don’t know if it will actually ever happen. There are no advocates of policy,’ one minister said.
One prominent Tory rebel told the Telegraph of the idea that vacccine passports at conference: ‘If he does, then I suspect significant numbers of Conservative MPs and activists will refuse to attend.’
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng suggested this morning that any vote would be ‘general’ on the ‘concept’ of Covid passports, rather than on the detail of where they apply.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘You can never predict parliamentary votes but we’ve got a majority of 80 and I’m very confident we can pass the legislation we require.
‘I don’t know what the proposed vote will be, you can never tell what the actual vote in the House of Commons in terms of the wording and what the position is.
‘It might just be a general vote on the concept, even, of vaccine passports, these votes can take any form that you can imagine.
‘If the vote does occur, I’m confident the Government will preserve a majority.’
The controversial plan was raised at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where support is thought to have been thin.
Some ministers also fear that the passports could be extended to pubs – something Boris Johnson has failed to rule out.
Downing Street yesterday could not provide any examples where venues had voluntarily used Covid passports outside of trials.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said that ‘a number of nightclubs and other settings’ used them during pilot events, and stressed it was ‘socially responsible’ for businesses to use them.
But pushed on whether there was evidence they were being used, he added: ‘I don’t have specific numbers for you on who is or isn’t using it at the moment, it will be required by law by September.’
Labour (pictured, leader Keir Starmer) has signalled that it could join Tory rebels in voting against vaccine passports
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng suggested this morning that any vote would be ‘general’ on the ‘concept’ of Covid passports, rather than on the detail of where they apply
The requirement for Covid passports to enter venues in England will need a change in the law, which more than 40 MPs have already vowed to oppose.
With Labour support, the Tory rebels could defeat the Government’s 80-strong majority in a Commons vote.
Nightclub owners have also criticised the plan, which was announced on Monday – the day England’s clubs were allowed to open for the first time since March last year.
It came only a week after ministers said while they encouraged nightclubs and crowded venues to use the NHS Covid Pass it would not be compulsory.
The Government had previously insisted proof of a negative test would be part of the Covid passport – ensuring those who decided not to be vaccinated or who medically were unable to have the jab were not discriminated against.
A spokesman for Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘We oppose the use of Covid vaccination status for everyday access to venues and services. It’s costly, open to fraud and is impractical.’
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: ‘We need a united front against these illiberal and unworkable proposals and a national campaign through the summer to convince the Government to change course.’