News | Published June 05 2020

Covid-19: Business secretary tests negative after falling ill in Parliament

Business secretary Alok Sharma has tested negative for Covid-19, after becoming ill during a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Announcing his negative test result on social media, Sharma thanked the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Commons authorities, and well-wishers who had contacted him after he returned home to self-isolate until his test results returned.

The news of the negative test comes as a major relief, after Sharma had met with the prime minister and chancellor at Downing Street for a “socially distanced” meeting on Tuesday.

However, concerns still remain over the safety of Parliament returning to physical sittings, following the end of the virtual Parliament which had been running since April.

MPs unable to attend due to age and health concerns can dial in to debates via video-conference and vote by proxy through an MP who is present in the chamber. However, many MPs still think that the axing of the virtual Parliament was irresponsible and constitutes a major health risk.

The PCS union, which represents numerous parliamentary staff members including clerks, kitchen staff and security guards, have written to the prime minister in opposition to the move to bring back MPs.

However, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is among those who favoured a return to physical sitting.

Rees-Mogg said: “Across the country people are going back to work. How can we look teachers in our constituency in the eye when we are asking them to go back to work and we are saying we are not willing to?

"We have to be back here delivering on the legislative programme and being held to account."

Meanwhile, an emergency debate on how business will be conducted in the Commons during the Covid-19 pandemic has been approved and is due to take place on Monday. 

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
June 05 2020

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