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Coronavirus outbreak forces 11 MPs to self-isolate as calls to shut Parliament grow

Coronavirus outbreak forces 11 MPs to self-isolate as calls to shut Parliament grow
2 min read

A total of 11 MPs are now self-isolating due to coronavirus just days after ministers said Parliament would not close due to the outbreak.

On Thursday night the Conservatives William Wragg, Alex Chalk and Ruth Edwards all announced they were staying at home over fears they may have caught Covid-19..

And according to the Telegraph, two further unnamed MPs, one Tory and one Labour, have also self-isolated.

It moves the total number staying away from the Commons to 11, just two days after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Parliament would remain open amid the crisis. 

Meanwhile the International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan revealed on Friday she was the un-named Cabinet minister who was tested for the virus this week.

She confirmed it had come back negative for Covid-19, after coming into contact with Health Minister Nadine Dorries, who is the only MP so far to have contracted Covid-19.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who is self isolating after coming into contact with Ms Dorries and is awaiting testing, has criticised Parliament for remaining open as the crisis worsens.

He told the Guardian: “I said two weeks ago we should have closed parliament to visitors.

“Parliament is like an airport – we have got people coming in from all over the world.

“Security have said to me that they have to pat people down from all around the world. We should have stopped visitors coming here two weeks ago. It would only need to be temporary.

“I said to the whips office: ‘We are going to get it ever so quickly.’ It’s one of those buildings where we go out to every single part of the country too.”

Other MPs known to be isolating include Charles Walker, Edward Argar and Rachael Maskell.

 A spokesperson for Parliament said: “We are aware of the importance of parliament and the need to keep it functioning as usual.

“There are no plans to suspend parliament; changes to the way parliament functions would be a matter for consultation between the Speakers, the government and the parliamentary authorities.

“The Speakers and political leadership of both houses are keeping the situation under constant review. Parliament continues to be guided by PHE in response to the situation.

“Parliamentary authorities are also developing contingency plans and considering what precautionary steps we might take to ensure the continuity of parliamentary business.”

Yesterday, Public Health England confirmed there were 134 new cases of Covid-19 in the UK, bringing the total across the county to 590.

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