The SNP is “constructively” looking at proposals for a Covid passport scheme amid reports it could support the measures in a House of Commons vote.
Some 41 Tory MPs and Labour have hardened their positions against the “Covid Status Certification” programme, warning the checks would create a “two-tier” nation.
But the government’s fortunes could be turning after Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said his party would “look constructively at any proposals” if No 10 included negative test results and resolved “equity, ethics and privacy” issues.
It came as Jeremy Hunt, the Tory former health secretary and chairman of the Health Select Committee, said he believed the public will accept the documents if they are the “only way to socialise in public places safely”.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Blackford said: “Obviously we’re keen to take steps to get back to normality, but in a way that is inclusive.
“We would look constructively at any proposals that would help us get there, including Covid status checks. It is important that people are not excluded.
“Therefore such checks would have to include people who have had a Covid test as well as those who are vaccinated.
“When it comes to SNP MPs potentially voting on such matters in Westminster, these measures will affect Scots visiting friends or for work in England.”
Blackford later clarified that SNP would not support the plans as they stand.
He said: “The UK government hasn’t published any proposals yet, and the Tory position has been mired in confusion and contradiction. On the basis of the information available, there is not a proposition in front of us that SNP MPs could support.
“On the basis of the information available, SNP MPs would not support Tory plans due to serious concerns over ethics.”
This came as a leaked Labour memo showed MPs were considering opposing the legislation “on the basis of what we’ve seen and discussed with ministers”.
“They appear poorly thought through, will put added burdens on business and run the risk of becoming another expensive Whitehall project that gets outsourced to friends of Tory ministers,” the memo read.
With a total of 44 MPs in Westminster, the SNP could help Johnson fend off a Tory revolt that would have to grow to approximately 80 in order to lose the vote.
It would mean that even if Labour opposed the documents Johnson would likely still have enough votes to get over the line.