Business Secretary Alok Sharma repeatedly wiped his head and nose with a handkerchief and held his forehead when he made a speech on Wednesday, raising questions about whether the UK government was right to ask lawmakers to return to Parliament while the number of new coronavirus infections remains high.
The House of Commons has been working on a hybrid basis in recent weeks, with a limited number of deputies allowed in the room and others are allowed to participate and vote from home.
But in a move led by Jacob Reyes Muj, leader of the House of Commons and traditional conservative deputy, the government used its parliamentary majority to end the arrangement earlier this week.
Representatives were forced to return to Westminster if they wanted to discuss and vote on legislation. But the House of Commons authorities insisted on maintaining the rules for social estrangement, which meant that lawmakers had to join a massive streak of voting in the traditional way of passing through the stalls as fortune tellers named them.
The report of the House of Commons Action Committee published on May 30 warned the government’s decision to summon the House of Commons to Westminster with a socially distant system with “significant deficiencies”. The committee report said it had “serious concerns about how it works in practice” and suggested that “remote voting should continue for a limited period of time, with members who want to be able to vote personally and register their votes in the council.”
On Tuesday, after the first session after dropping the virtual arrangements, he tweeted, “Today showed how effective an appropriate parliament is compared to the tradition that holds the government to account.” But Sharma’s disturbing appearance on Wednesday could cast doubt on the wisdom of forcing lawmakers to enter a confined space.
Downing Street said that if the Sharma results are positive, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson may be forced to isolate himself. The prime minister’s spokesman said that Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sonak held a 45-minute meeting on the economy with Sharma on Tuesday. The spokesman said that the rules for social separation have been preserved.
Other legislators who have been in constant contact with the minister may be forced to quarantine for two weeks if they are positive.
A spokesperson for Sharma’s business, energy and industrial strategy told CNN on Wednesday: “Foreign Minister Alok Sharma began to feel unwell when he delivered into the room the second reading of the corporate governance and insolvency bill. In line with the guidelines, he was tested for coronavirus and returned home to self-isolate.”
At the time of publication on Thursday, Sharma had not returned his test results, according to the administration.
Liberal Democrat Daisy Cooper said on Twitter that Reese Mugh should resign as Speaker of Parliament “to bring [it] In denigrating, unnecessarily endangering life. ”House Speaker Lindsay Howell urged the parliament to return to virtual procedures only immediately.
“I hope Alok Sharma will recover quickly, but this confirms that the lives of both employees and representatives are at risk in Parliament. It was an irresponsible decision by Reyes Moj and Johnson to force an open parliament. You should now return to insurance operations,” Labor MP John McDonnell said on Twitter. And online operations. “
This story has been updated to correct the publication date of the House of Commons Actions report.