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Blair 'coordinating' travel plan for vaccine passport rollout for Boris's Monday speech

Daily Express logo Daily Express 21/02/2021 James Bickerton
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On Monday the Prime Minister is due to lay out Britain's route out of Covid-19 lockdown in detail. According to LBC Westminster Correspondent Ben Kentish Mr Blair has been co-ordinating with major airline and holiday companies to lobby for vaccine passports.

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Vaccine passports would allow those who have already received a coronavirus vaccine to travel abroad on holiday.

Mr Kentish reports the former Prime Minister has spoken to companies such as British Airways, Heathrow Airport and SAGA.

He claimed Mr Blair had "promised to use his contacts in Government to try to make sure this [vaccine passports] happen".

The reported added: "Blair held talks with industry leaders this week and expressed fears the idea would slip if it's not included in the roadmap announced by the PM tomorrow.

Tony Blair wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Coronavirus © GETTY Coronavirus Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: Coronavirus © GETTY Coronavirus

"[He] wants UK to lead efforts via G7 presidency.

"Industry already looking at how it would work in practice."

Mr Johnson will address MPs at 3pm and hold a public press conference at 7pm to outline his plans for easing lockdown.

England has been in a coronavirus lockdown, with most forms of social mixing banned, since January 5.

READ MORE: Travel agent staying at quarantine hotel 'fears catching Covid-19'

Coronavirus © GETTY Coronavirus

The Prime Minister has previously said his roadmap will be "cautious but irreversible".

Schools are expected to fully reopen from March 8, though this is being fiercely resisted by teaching unions who favour a staggered return.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph a Government source said: "The ambition has always been to make sure all kids go back at the same time."

The Government hopes to offer a vaccine to every adult aged over 50, along with the clinically vulnerable, by April 15 according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

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Tony Blair wearing a suit and tie: Coronavirus © GETTY Coronavirus a person holding a guitar: Coronavirus © GETTY Coronavirus

A jab should then be available for every adult in Britain by the end of July.

Appearing on Times Radio Mr Hancock said the lockdown would be ended in stages with "weeks between the steps" to ensure infections don't bubble up again.

He added social distancing restrictions and rules on wearing face masks are expected to stay in place for some time.

According to the Mail on Sunday Mr Hancock has "stopped talking" to Mr Blair as he believes the former Prime Minister had "pinched Government anti-Covid ideas to pass them off as his own".

Mr Blair was a prominent advocate for extending the time between first and second vaccine doses, to allow more people to receive a jab.

Speaking to the Mail a Government source said: "Matt [Hancock] was briefing Blair as a courtesy to a previous Prime Minister.

"But he cottoned on that Blair was milking these conversations.

a person wearing a suit and tie: Coronavirus © GETTY Coronavirus

"And that's when Hancock said, 'I'm not going to talk to you anymore'."

The paper also alleges Conservative MPs have privately been complaining that "Tony Blair appears to be going round still pretending he is PM".

A spokesman for Mr Blair denied the former prime minister had taken his one-shot vaccine policy from Mr Hancock.

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