Scottish Conservatives will mount a last ditch attempt to force the Scottish Government to ditch its controversial plans for coronavirus vaccine passports.
With the scheme due to come in on Friday, the Tories will use their opposition debating time in Holyrood on Wednesday to challenge the move.
However, despite Labour and the Lib Dems also being opposed to the scheme, the motion is unlikely to succeed, with the support of the Scottish Greens providing the Scottish Government with the necessary votes to see off the challenge.
The debate comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that while the scheme will still come in from 5am on October 1, a grace period means that businesses will not face the threat of enforcement action if they fail to comply with it until October 18.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the move was a “very pragmatic compromise” – despite claims from the opposition that the vaccine certification scheme is a “shambles” that should be scrapped.
Speaking ahead of the debate, while on a visit to Dundee, Ms Sturgeon added: “Vaccine certification is one of the proportionate, targeted steps we can take over what is going to be a really challenging winter to try to keep the virus under control while keeping the economy fully open.
“That’s the – potentially quite tricky – balancing act that Scotland and other countries are going to have to perform over this winter, and this is one measure that might just help us achieve that.
“It’s about trying to keep the country as safe as possible.
“This is the first winter that we will face both with Covid circulating and no real restrictions on our everyday way of life in place, so we need to make sure we’re taking the steps to keep the virus under control and keep the economy open.”
The motion the Conservatives will bring to Parliament calls on the Government “not to proceed with its plans to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine certification scheme”.
Under the Government’s plans, those going to nightclubs and other large scale events will have to show that they have had two doses of coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Tory Covid-19 recovery spokesman, Murdo Fraser, said: “Businesses say this scheme is flawed. It will drive up their costs. It’s ripe for fraud. They will get no help to administer it.
“They’re still waiting for essential information and guidance because once again, the SNP has left it to the very last minute.”
He continued: “The SNP’s poor planning has scuppered this scheme before it even begins.
“They have refused to debate the flaws, so we will use our own Parliamentary time to make them face scrutiny.”
But Scottish Green health spokeswoman, Gillian Mackay, said the Tories had adopted an “utterly reckless approach to Covid”.
Ms Mackay said: “Their obsession with putting economic growth before lives is apparent in their motion and the complacent approach to other mitigations like mask wearing.
“This disregard for people has meant a removal of furlough, a cut to benefits and the opening up of international travel when importing new variants would pose a risk to Scotland’s recovery from Covid.
“Scotland is in the unenviable position of having to manage this reckless approach by using what limited powers we have in proportionate and targeted ways, and now the Scottish Tories want to remove these safeguards.
“Any responsible Government has to do what it can to limit the spread of the virus using the powers it has, but it is clear the Conservatives have no interest in such responsibilities.”