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UK business Secretary Alok Sharma tested for coronavirus after feeling ill while speaking in Parliament

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA

UK business Secretary Alok Sharma tested for coronavirus after feeling ill while speaking in Parliament

He was sweating heavily and struggled to get through his speech, repeatedly seen wiping his face and blowing his nose

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating at home after feeling ill while speaking in the House of Commons.

The Cabinet minister has been tested for coronavirus after becoming visibly unwell at the despatch box on Wednesday afternoon.

It has led to further anger at the end of the hybrid parliamentary proceedings and renewed calls to allow MPs to keep working at home.

Sharma was in the Commons chamber for nearly an hour while leading for the Government on the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill.

He was sweating heavily and struggled to get through his speech, repeatedly seen wiping his face and blowing his nose.

Several hours later it was later confirmed the Reading West MP had been tested for Covid-19 and had returned home.

A spokesperson said: "Alok Sharma began feeling unwell when in the Chamber delivering the second reading of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill.

"In line with guidance he has been tested for coronavirus and is returning home to self isolate.”

The House of Commons authorities said "additional cleaning" had taken place following the debate.

Sharma had been one of only a few ministers to attend Cabinet in person at Downing Street on Tuesday morning.

He had also taken part in divisions in the Commons later that day, where hundreds of members had queued up together to cast their vote in controversial new temporary measures.

SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Kirsty Blackman MP said: “I send my best wishes to Alok Sharma for a full and speedy recovery.

“This does, however, demonstrate just how ridiculous and irresponsible the Tory government’s decision to end virtual participation in Parliament was. They must now rectify this serious mistake and reintroduce hybrid proceedings without delay.

“In light of this development it's difficult to see how else Parliament can proceed - but what is clear is that this botched system isn’t working and needs to change urgently to protect our democracy.

“Millions of people across Scotland and the UK have been disenfranchised by the Tory decision, which has blocked many MPs from participating and voting.

“The SNP has consistently called for virtual participation to remain, for as long as the pandemic continues. That is the best and only way to ensure all MPs can do their job while protecting public health, in line with the guidance across the four nations.

“The Tory government must accept it made a serious error and rectify it urgently to prevent any more damage to democratic representation in the UK.”

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