18 Jul 2021

Covid-19: PM and chancellor to self-isolate in U-turn

10:50 pm on 18 July 2021

The UK prime minister and chancellor will now self-isolate as normal after contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for coronavirus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons.

Photo: AFP / WIktor Szymanowicz / NurPhoto

The reversal comes just hours after they said they would take part in a pilot scheme involving daily testing.

Opposition parties said it suggested there was "one rule for them and another for the rest of us".

Downing Street said Boris Johnson will conduct meetings remotely at Chequers.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Twitter: "Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren't the same for everyone is wrong."

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid says he has "very mild" symptoms after testing positive for Covid-19

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid says he has "very mild" symptoms after testing positive for Covid-19 Photo: David Cliff/NurPhoto via AFP

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the prime minister and chancellor had been "busted yet again for thinking the rules that we are all following don't apply to them".

"The public have done so much to stick to the rules. At a time when we need to maintain confidence in self isolation, parents, workers and businesses will be wondering what on earth is going on in Downing Street," he said.

"The way the prime minister conducts himself creates chaos, makes for bad government and has deadly consequences for the British public."

Labour's Jonathan Ashworth had earlier told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that it was unfair that politicians appeared to have access to "VIP testing" to avoid self-isolation, while Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey asked if it was only available to "the privileged few".

The managing director of the Iceland supermarket, Richard Walker, also criticised the proposal for Johnson and Sunak to avoid self-isolation.

"Shame the hundreds of Iceland staff who've been pinged can't avoid self-isolation. We can all do a daily lateral flow test," he said.


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