Business Secretary Alok Sharma self-isolating and tested for coronavirus after feeling unwell in House of Commons

Kate Devlin

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating and has been tested for coronavirus after he began to feel unwell in the House of Commons.

Fears he could be the latest cabinet minister to develop the disease emerged just hours after MPs protested against a decision to force them to attend parliament in person to vote, warning “this is how infections spread”.

Boris Johnson spent days in intensive care after he caught Covid-19 before Easter.

Around the same time the Health Secretary Matt Hancock also came down with the disease, alongside a number of No 10 staff including the prime minister’s most senior adviser Dominic Cummings.

Mr Sharma was pictured visibly sweating on camera in the Commons earlier.

At the time his appearance - he was seen wiping his brow with a handkerchief several times - prompted fears about his health.

At one point his opposite number, Labour’s Ed Miliband, had to pass him a glass of water.

Just 50 MPs at a time are currently allowed in the Commons chamber at any one time, in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

No-one who came in contact with Mr Sharma in recent days will be told to self-isolate or get a coronavirus test, the Independent understands.

Sources close to Mr Sharma said that all of his work, including meetings, had been carried out in a socially distanced way.

His spokeswoman said: "(He) began feeling unwell when in the chamber delivering the second reading of the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Bill."

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

Last night MPs warned that if Mr Sharma tested positive for coronavirus the Commons could be forced to shut.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat chief whip, said: “It was inevitable that something like this would happen. Jacob Rees-Mogg was warmed that by insisting on a premature return of MPs to Westminster he was risking MPs becoming super-spreaders for Covid-19. If Alok Sharma has the virus he could end up closing down the Commons.”


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