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The Liberal Democrats are campaigning for parliament to be recalled from summer recess to debate proposals to introduce the use of vaccine passports.

The party’s leader Sir Ed Davey has written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson accusing his government of “committing to vaccine passports by stealth” which he warned was “a recipe for chaos and dissent”.

Sir Ed added that the use of such a scheme would be “a grotesque misuse of government diktat” and said MPs must be brought back from their summer holidays immediately to vote on the matter.

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Lib Dem leader Ed Davey
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said MPs should be recalled from their summer holidays to discuss and vote on the issue

The PM has said individuals will need to be fully vaccinated to go to nightclubs from the end of September and that proof of a negative COVID test will no longer be sufficient.

And the prospect of people having to prove their COVID-19 status to access a range of other venues has been raised in recent weeks with universities, music events and sporting fixtures all having been mentioned as possible other settings for certification.

Sir Ed said businesses will suffer greatly under the proposals.

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“It is deeply unsettling to see you and your government committing to vaccine passports by stealth. This goes against all our country’s traditions and is utterly deceitful,” his letter published on Friday states.

“Parliament must be recalled immediately.

“How businesses or indeed even churches will be expected to decide who can or cannot pass through their doors has not been made clear.

“This is a recipe for chaos and dissent on many doorsteps throughout England.

Vaccine passports for football games
Sporting events have been mentioned as other areas where vaccine passports may be required

“It would be a grotesque misuse of government diktat to introduce ID cards without any scrutiny, let alone a vote of MPs.

“The government owes this to all those individuals and businesses who will suffer as a result of your rushed and botched scheme.

“The nation is calling out for leadership, not deception. It is time to step up, to own your decision on COVID ID cards and put it to a vote to parliament. You must recall parliament now.”

A number of Conservative MPs have told Sky News they do not think the government will follow through and actually introduce domestic vaccine passports.

More than 40 Conservatives recently signed a declaration from the campaign group Big Brother Watch expressing opposition to the idea.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, told Sky News that vaccine passports for domestic use would be a “massive step and a misguided one”.

Some Tory MPs contacted by Sky News say they think the prime minister is bluffing in a bid to increase vaccine uptake, while others expressed their belief that the government would pull any vote on the matter if there is a realistic prospect of them losing.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus in Downing Street, London, Monday, July 5, 2021. Johnson on Monday confirmed plans to lift mask requirements and social distancing rules as planned on July 19 despite a surge in infections. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo via AP)
Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from some of his own MPs over the issue

“I don’t think they will,” Wellingborough MP Peter Bone said when asked if he thinks the government will follow through and introduce vaccine passports.

He added that he was against vaccine passports because they are “identity papers by the back door” and risked creating a “two class society”.

Fellow Conservative Craig Mackinlay, meanwhile, said he thinks the government is adopting a “carrot and stick approach” to increase vaccine take-up.

“I hope that is as far as these plans go,” the MP for South Thanet said.

And Andrew Bridgen described vaccine passports as “completely unnecessary, bureaucratic and unworkable”, adding that they would “create a divided society”.

The Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire accused the government of engaging in “sabre-rattling” as part of a “crude attempt to coerce young people to take the vaccine”.

Sir Keir Starmer accuses the prime minister of recklessness over proposed removal of restrictions
Sir Keir Starmer has said he ‘can see a case for vaccine passports’ for mass events

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he “can see a case for vaccine passports” for mass events, but not for “day-to-day routine”.

Asked whether people should have to prove they have had two vaccine doses before returning to the office, Sir Keir told reporters: “I don’t agree with that.

“I can see a case for vaccine passports, alongside testing, when it comes to big sporting events or mass events, certainly for international travel.

“But for day-to-day routine – access to the office, access to health services or dentistry or even food – I don’t agree with vaccine passports for day-to-day access.”

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He added: “We can’t have a situation where someone can’t have access to a health service or dentistry or supermarkets – that is something I don’t think anybody could seriously countenance, so we have to make this distinction.

“But we need to be pragmatic, we need to look at whatever the government puts on the table when it comes to longer term events, mass events etcetera.”

A government spokesperson told Sky News on Thursday: “There has been no change to our plans to introduce vaccine certification in September.

“The government is focussed on protecting the public and reducing the impact of the virus, including mandating COVID certification in certain settings.

“Vaccines are the best possible way to protect you and your family against the virus and we strongly encourage people to come forward.”

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5 highlights of Sam Bankman-Fried’s first day of trial




5 highlights of Sam Bankman-Fried’s first day of trial

The high-profile trial of former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried kicked off on Oct. 3 with plenty of activity both inside and outside of the cramped Manhattan courtroom.

Journalists, crypto influencers and other gawkers reportedly gathered in a media overflow room to take notes on the day’s events. Here are some of the most colorful observations about the day.

Noticeably leaner, signature haircut gone

The defendant, Bankman-Fried, appeared noticeably leaner, according to multiple reports.

Flanked by five defense lawyers, he was dressed in a navy suit that seemed bigger on him in previous appearances, and his signature unkempt curly locks were subbed for a shorter hairstyle.

Unchained Crypto’s Laura Shin noted that Bankman-Fried was noticeably “less jittery than normal.”

“I did not see him shake his leg at all,” she said in an Oct. 3 podcast.

The only time he spoke was to say “yes” to the judge and occasionally look at the jurors. Other times, he conferred with his lawyers or was seen typing and scrolling on his air-gapped laptop.

SBF has spent the past seven weeks or so locked up at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. When his lawyers unsuccessfully argued for his release, they claimed that he was subsisting on “bread and water” and lacking vegan meal options.

Crypto influencer Tiffany Fong said, “He kind of looks more criminal now.”

Journalists, influencers and skeptics come to “crypto prom”

The first day of the trial was described as feeling like “the first day of school,” according to some journalists in attendance.

“I’ve never seen the courthouse like this,” remarked an unnamed member of the press, according to The Slate.

“While waiting to access the media overflow room, I spotted practically anyone and everyone who’s had something to say about decentralized currency over the last few years,” said The Slates’ Nitish Pahwa.

He described it as a “crypto prom” crammed with a hodgepodge of paid media participants, crypto influencers, obsessives, skeptics and more.

Cointelegraph reporter Ana Paula Pereira is also in attendance and will give daily updates on the most significant developments throughout the trial.

Jurors get whittled down, and some share sad crypto stories

Judge Lewis B. Kaplan told the burgeoning crowd of potential jurors: “You are to do no research. You are not to read press coverage”; however, he lightened up when it came to questioning the crowd, reported Cointelegraph.

Potential jurors were asked if they had prior knowledge about FTX and Alameda, with one saying they learned about it from The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, according to a partial transcript from Inner City Press.

One juror said they worked with a company that invested in (and lost money on) FTX and Alameda. Another potential juror said:

“I invested in crypto. I lost money.”

One juror shared that he wasn’t sure if he could be unbiased with crypto: “I’ve felt negatively about it since I learned about it.” He was later dismissed from the pool of potential jurors.

Another juror even asked the judge whether a death sentence could be imposed for Bankman-Fried, to which the judge answered:

“We’ll get to it in a minute or two, and my answer will have to suffice. Anyone unwilling to accept that punishment is up to the court? No one.”

At the end of the session, Judge Kaplan said, “We now have a sufficient group of qualified jurors, 50.” He added that 18 people will be selected in total, 12 of whom will be jurors with six alternates.

He added that on the next day (Oct. 4), a microphone will be passed around for each juror to speak for a minute. “Then the lawyers will confer, and the final selection will be made,” he concluded.

Witnesses for the prosecution

An assistant U.S. attorney read out a list of potential witnesses for the prosecution. This included some expected names, such as former company executives Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, Nishad Singh, Ryne Miller and Constance Wang; family members Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried; and even Anthony Scaramucci.

Several institutions were also listed, including Jane Street Capital, Sequoia Capital, BlockFi, Genesis, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Binance, Nexo, Guarding Against Pandemics (the nonprofit of SBF’s brother) and Voyager Digital.

Six-week trial expected

Judge Kaplan said that the trial was expected to take about six weeks, but he also noted that it could be over in a much shorter time.

Related: What has Sam Bankman-Fried been up to in jail?

However, by the end of the day, he had not succeeded in finalizing the jury. Kaplan predicted that this would be completed by the morning of Oct. 4, after which both sides are expected to give opening arguments totaling around 90 minutes.

Magazine: Can you trust crypto exchanges after the collapse of FTX?