UK PM and chancellor self-isolate in rapid U-turn

Published: 18 Jul 2021

Online Desk

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

The reversal comes just hours after they said they would take part in a pilot scheme involving daily testing instead of self-isolation, reports BBC.

Opposition parties had 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."

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.

Mr Javid tested positive on Saturday morning after a meeting at Downing Street the day before, and both Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak were contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

No 10 had said a workplace pilot scheme would allow the prime minister and chancellor to keep working from Downing Street by taking daily tests. A spokesman said they would only be able to carry out essential government business and would self-isolate at all other times.

But the announcement met with an angry response. Labour's Jonathan Ashworth had 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".

Subject : UK PM

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