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Tue, 2 June 2020

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Minister calls on Boris Johnson to hand over the reins to someone else after coronavirus hospital admission

Minister calls on Boris Johnson to hand over the reins to someone else after coronavirus hospital admission

Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday night.

3 min read

Boris Johnson should “let others do the heavy lift” while he recovers in hospital from coronavirus, a government minister has said.

James Duddridge urged the Prime Minister to delegate his responsibilities so he could “come back fighting” when he recoovers.

His comments put him at odds with Downing Street, which has insisted Mr Johnson is still running the Government from his hospital bed.

The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital for tests on Sunday after failing to shake off coronavirus symptoms 10 days after being diagnosed with the illness.

Number 10 said the decision had been taken on the advice of the Prime Minister's doctor and was a "precautionary" measure.

Mr Johnson had been due to emerge from seven days' self-isolation on Friday, but remained behind closed doors because he continued to have a high temperature.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests.

"This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus.”

The Times reports that Mr Johnson was driven to St Thomas’ Hospital across the river from Whitehall at 8pm on Sunday night and given oxygen treatment, although did not need an ambulance.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab chaired Monday’s meeting of the C-19 committee leading the response to the pandemic insted of the PM.

Sharing a picture of Mr Johnson on Twitter, Mr Duddridge said: “Take care boss. Get well. Come back fighting.  But for now rest, look after yourself and let the others do the heavy lift.”

'LEADING FROM THE FRONT'

The call for the PM to let others take on vital work came as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Cabinet “hope and expect that he can get back to No 10 very soon” - although he declined to put a timeframe on Mr Johnson’s return to work.

Asked if it was now time for the Tory leader to be told to rest, Mr Jenrick told BBC’s Today programme: “He has worked phenomenally hard, as have many people across the country. This has been a uniquely intense period and I know for him personally it will be very frustrating that he has had to go to hospital to have these tests.

“He will want to be back in No 10 leading from the front, which is his way. But he remains in charge of the government; he will be updated regularly in hospital, as he has been as he’s self-isolating.”

Downing Street on Monday shot down a claim by Conservative MP Tobias Elwood that Mr Raab would be running “day-to-day” government business in the absence of the PM.

"Dominic Raab is chairing the 9.15am meeting - no more or less than that," a source told PoliticsHome.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair meanwhile said Mr Johnson’s hospital ordeal would be “hellish”.

He told the Today programme: "I have every sympathy and solidarity with him. I know it must be a hellish situation to be in."

But, asked whether PM should hand over control of government decisions while ill, the former Labour leader said: "I'm not going to second guess them on that.

"He knows the state of his own condition and he will be judging it carefully himself, I'm sure."

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