THE SCOTTISH Greens leadership have suggested they will drop their opposition to vaccine passports – hinting some of their previous arguments against the policy “have changed over time”.
The Greens have previously been vehemently opposed to vaccine certification being introduced while in opposition at Holyrood.
Speaking earlier this year, Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said that vaccine certification “could set a dangerous precedent for the longer-term in that people’s civil rights would be dependent on their medical history”.
He has also previously warned that the policy could “deepen discrimination against those who have not yet been vaccinated”.
But the party has been put in a potentially awkward position having signed up to a deal with the Scottish Government – with new Greens ministers Lorna Slater and Mr Harvie bound by collective responsibility and not able to vote against official policy.
On Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon announced to MSPs that the Scottish Government intends to roll out vaccine certification for certain situations including nightclubs and football stadiums, subject to approval of Holyrood next week.
But Mr Harvie has suggested that his party, or at least its two Government ministers, are likely to drop their opposition to the policy.
Speaking to ITV Representing Border, Mr Harvie was asked if he will be voting in favour of the policy.
He said: “The Government will have a single position when it comes to the vote in the chamber.
“What we want to see is how the whole Parliament responds to proposals and how the arguments will have changed over time.”
Mr Harvie said that MSPs will “see how the arguments have changed over time”.
He added: “Some of those arguments have changed based on where we would have been several months ago.”
The Scottish LibDems, who are ideologically opposed to vaccine passports being introduced, have appealed to Green MSPs to stick to their principles and not back the plans.
LibDem MSP Willie Rennie said: “I agreed with Patrick Harvie when he stood firmly against this measure in recent weeks. But I am alarmed that he and his colleagues may vote for it next week.
“If Patrick Harvie doesn’t stand up to the SNP on this important issue he will be pushed around for the rest of the Parliament.
“The coalition government is crossing a line. To move from the state encouraging people to get vaccinated to compelling them to do so is a major step.”
He added: “The IT system can’t cope with the current demand for vaccine passports for foreign travel so I can’t see how it will cope with this massive increase in demand.
“We know government often fails when it is managing massive IT projects and this one is being done in a rush so I fear the consequences of this for people and businesses across the country.
“The Green coalition ministers will know all this so I just can’t understand why they won’t stand up to the SNP. I would urge them to do so before it is too late.”
A Scottish Greens spokesperson said: “Green MSPs have expressed reservations about the use of Covid vaccine certification but recognise the need for urgent action to address the surge in case numbers.”