Vaccine passports in Wales get green light after Tory MS misses vote over tech issues

Gareth Davies suffered technology problems ahead of Tuesday’s vote in the Senedd and was unable to register his opposition to the NHS Covid Pass.

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A Conservative politician who missed a vote on the introduction of Covid passes in Wales due to an IT failure was at his party’s conference in Manchester.

Gareth Davies, who represents the Vale of Clwyd, suffered technology problems ahead of Tuesday’s vote in the Senedd and was unable to register his opposition to the NHS Covid Pass.

If Mr Davies had been able to vote, the motion to amend the regulations would have been tied 28-28 and would not have passed.

Conservative colleagues had tried to intervene, but the Llywydd, Elin Jones, said he had been “given every opportunity to be present”.

Instead, the Labour Government won 28-27 and the Covid NHS Pass is set to be compulsory for entry to nightclubs and other large scale events from next week.

In a statement, Mr Davies said he was “angry” he had been unable to access the Senedd’s remote voting system.

“I’m deeply upset, frustrated and angry at last night’s events and my inability to cast a vote against vaccine passports,” he said.

“Yesterday evening, IT challenges meant that I was unable to access the voting system.

“Throughout the voting period, I was speaking with the chief whip and Welsh Conservative staff members in an attempt to solve the IT issues.

“The Senate currently operates under a hybrid system that means only half of our representatives can vote in the chamber, with others voting remotely from elsewhere.

“I was working and representing the group at the Conservative Party conference and I would have been able to vote remotely if I had been able to access the remote voting tools.

“Concerns have been raised with the Senedd’s ICT department.”

Addressing, Plenary Ms Jones condemned the scenes on the Senedd estate after the vote which saw protestors make threats to the safety and welfare of members, staff and visitors.

She added: “I’ll take the opportunity, however, to reiterate to all Members that it is every individual Member’s responsibility to ensure they are present early enough and in time to vote wherever you may be, and especially if voting from a location for the first time.”

The Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats all voted against the introduction of Covid passes – raising concerns about civil liberties and the details of the plan.

It will come into force from October 11 and means all over-18s would need to have one to enter nightclubs, indoor, non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people and any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

People would also be able to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

The Night Time Industries Association Wales, which has opposed the introduction of the scheme, called for a fresh vote.

“It is a democratic outrage that one MS who wanted to vote, and who would have voted against the proposals, could not, due to a mere technical error,” a spokesman said.

“This shambles will cause even more uncertainty for our businesses.

“There must be an urgent re-vote so that the will of the Senedd can be fairly expressed and businesses have some clarity about the future.”