British government minister Alok Sharma is self-isolating after coronavirus testing

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Business secretary Alok Sharma repeatedly wiped his head and nose with a tissue and held his forehead while making a speech on Wednesday, raising questions about whether the UK government was right in asking its lawmakers to return to Parliament while the number of new coronavirus infections remains high.

The House of Commons had operated on a hybrid basis in recent weeks, with a limited number of parliamentarians admitted to the chamber and others authorized to take part and vote from home.

But in a move led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and a conservative traditionalist MP, the government used the parliamentary majority to end this deal earlier this week.

Parliamentarians were forced to return to Westminster if they wanted to discuss and vote on the legislation. But House of Commons authorities have insisted on maintaining the rules of social removal, which means that lawmakers have had to adhere to a huge line to vote in the traditional way of going through the booths while storytellers cross out their names.

The images shared by parliamentarians on social media show the chaos that followed. Labor MP opposition Ben Bradshaw the shared photos of lawmakers crammed onto an escalator that “crashed on the back of the voting queue and could neither go forward nor backward”. He added: “Rees-Mogg went through this crush and I told him it was a shame.”

A report from the House of Commons procedure committee published on May 30 warned the government’s decision to call the House of Commons to Westminster via a socially spaced system had “significant shortcomings”. The commission’s report said it had “serious concerns about how it would work in practice” and proposed that “remote voting should continue for a limited period of time, with members wanting to be able to vote in person with their votes recorded in the Chamber. “.

However, in an article for the Political home On Monday the website, Rees-Mogg wrote: “What will change is the quality of control. The virtual parliament has brought us to the height of the pandemic, but it is no longer necessary to make the compromises required. We can do so much better.”

On Tuesday, after the first session after the fall of the virtual agreements, he tweeted: “Today he has shown how much more effective a real Parliament is than an imitation of holding the government responsible”. But Sharma’s disturbing aspect on Wednesday could cast doubt on the wisdom of forcing legislators into limited space.

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Lawmakers returned to the House of Commons to vote on Tuesday.

Downing Street said that if Sharma is positive, Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be forced to isolate himself. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Minister Johnson and Finance Rishi Sunak had a 45-minute meeting on the economy with Sharma on Tuesday. Social removal rules have been maintained, the spokesman said.

Other lawmakers who had had contact with the minister could also be forced to a two-week quarantine if it tests positive.

A spokesman for Sharma’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told CNN on Wednesday: “Secretary of State Alok Sharma started to feel bad when the second reading of the Corporate Governance Act appeared in the classroom and on insolvency. In line with the guidelines, he was tested for coronavirus and returned home to isolate himself. “

Parliamentarians have been forced to line up rather than pile up in the chamber to comply with social removal measures.

At the time of Thursday’s release, Sharrma had not yet gotten her test results, according to the department.

Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper said on Twitter that Rees-Mogg should step down as head of the chamber for “bringing [it] discrediting and unnecessarily endangering life. “He invited spokeswoman Lindsay Hoyle to bring parliament back into virtual proceedings only with immediate effect.

Labor MP John McDonnell said on Twitter: “I would like Alok Sharma to recover quickly, but this confirms that the lives of staff and MPs have been put at risk in Parliament. It was an irresponsible decision by Rees Mogg and Johnson to force the the opening of Parliament. Now it has to go back to freezing and functioning online. “

This story has been updated to correct the date of publication of the House of Commons Procedure Committee report.

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