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Sir Keir Starmer is self-isolating after a member of his immediate family tested positive for Covid, his spokesperson has said.
Shortly after participating in the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour leader was informed that one of his children had tested positive for Covid-19 around lunchtime.
“In line with the rules, Keir and his family will now be self-isolating,” a spokesperson for Sir Keir said, adding: “Keir was already doing daily tests and tested negative this morning. He will continue to take daily tests.”
Sir Keir was expected to continue a summer tour in the Midlands on Thursday, as part of a series of conversations across the country with voters who abandoned the party at the last general election, but in line with government rules he will now spend up to 10 days in quarantine.
It will be the fourth time Sir Keir has had to enter quarantine since the pandemic began.
It comes after the Labour leader used the final session of Prime Minister’s Questions before recess on Wednesday to criticise Boris Johnson for an extraordinary U-turn at the weekend, when the prime minister initially sought to sidestep Covid isolation rules.
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On Sunday, No 10 was forced to backtrack on plans for both the prime minister and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to avoid quarantine by joining a daily testing scheme, which is supposed to select members of the public at random.
Faced with a considerable political backlash, Mr Johnson and the chancellor said just hours later that they would not participate in the scheme after all, and are both now self-isolating.
Raising the issue in the Commons, Sir Keir asked the prime minister whether others instructed to self-isolate by the NHS app should do so.
“Can I wish the prime minister, the ‘Chequers one’, well in his isolation,” the Labour leader began. “With half a million people self-isolating, I think we were all a bit surprised that the prime minister, the chancellor, and the Cabinet Office minister were all randomly chosen for a ‘get out of isolation free’ card.
“But it’s good that the prime minister finally recused himself – even if it took a public outcry, for the communities secretary to be humiliated on live TV, and a trip to a country estate. If someone is pinged by the NHS app – as millions will be over the coming weeks – should they isolate: yes or no?”
Responding virtually from Chequers, Mr Johnson replied: “I think that everybody understands the inconvenience of being pinged; as he rightly says, here I am. I wish I was with you in the Commons chamber today.
“I apologise to everybody in business, up and down the land, in all kinds of services – public sector or otherwise – who are experiencing inconvenience.
“We will be switching, as the house knows, to a system based on contact testing rather than contact isolation; but until then, I just must remind everybody that isolation is a vital tool of our defence against the disease.”