Raab sparks heated BBC row after suggesting UK could learn from Macron on Covid response

Dominic Raab grilled on vaccine passports in France

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A furious BBC row erupted on the Today programme between host Justin Webb and the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. When pressed about trying to increase vaccine uptake in the UK, Mr Raab praised Emmanuel Macron’s French model. This comes after the French parliament passed Emmanuel Macron’s strict proposal to require a ‘health pass’ to enter restaurants and bars.

Mr Raab said: “I was in France earlier this week, and we have seen when they signalled that in various areas you would need double-vaccinated in order to proceed, they got a big surge in people getting double-vaccinated.

“So it is a little mix of coaxing and cajoling.”

Mr Webb responded: “That’s interesting. Is what the French Government has done a model for us then?

“Because they are going full into vaccine passports, including in shops and all over the place.

“The fact you brought it up will concern some of your backbencher colleagues. Is that the direction we are going in?”

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Mr Raab immediately tried to backtrack, saying: “No, no, I wasn’t bringing it up to say we are following the French model.

“I was demonstrating that you can carefully encourage take-up of the vaccine.”

When Mr Webb pointed out that Mr Raab claimed the French model worked, the Foreign Secretary responded: “You are putting words in my mouth!”

However, he added: “You would be criticising me as Foreign Secretary if I wasn’t learning from other countries whether it’s Asia or Europe.

“I will learn from any country that has a rapid increase in take-up of the vaccine.

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“We have done much better than the French on the domestic roll-out so far.

“But that doesn’t mean we don’t learn from others.

“Our focus is on increasing that level of adults who have had two jabs as much as possible.”

On Monday, the French parliament ratified President Macron’s proposed law to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for healthcare workers.


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The laws also require a ‘health pass’ to enter public places such as restaurants and bars.

From August, access to venues covered by the law will also be possible with a recent negative coronavirus test or proof of immunity through infection.

However, the law triggered widespread anger on the streets of France, with roughly 161,000 people protesting on Saturday alone.

Despite this, the uptake of vaccines sky-rocketed after the law was proposed, with the number of first doses being administered per day jumping to 300,000 after stagnating around 150,000 since late June.

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