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UK Opposition Leader Starmer tests positive for Covid for a second time

Starmer is not believed to have any symptoms of the virus

Britain | Britain PM

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Palace of Westminster which houses the UK Parliament. Photo: Creative Commons
Palace of Westminster which houses the UK Parliament (Photo: Creative Commons)

Britain's Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer has tested positive for Covid for a second time and is now isolating, a Labour Party spokesman said on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old Labour Party leader will miss the year's first House of Commons showdown with Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) as the UK Parliament returns from its Christmas recess on Wednesday.

This is the second time Starmer has missed a major Parliament session due to a positive COVID test, having missed out on the Budget session last October.

"The Labour Leader has tested positive for coronavirus, a party spokesperson said.

Starmer is not believed to have any symptoms of the virus and the infection was detected as part of his regular testing routine. It marks his sixth period of isolation due to COVID, having isolated after coming in contact with someone who later tested positive in other instances.

Keir's latest positive test comes after the UK reported its highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic, with 218,724 announced on Tuesday.

It comes a day after he delivered a major party policy speech at an event in Birmingham setting out what he called his new "contract with the British people" and his vision for a future Labour government.

After his speech, Starmer went on a tour of a green energy and decarbonisation research site in the Tyseley area of Birmingham. A small group of Birmingham Labour MPs, including British Sikh MP and shadow minister for international development Preet Kaur Gill, were with him during Tuesday's visit and may now have to isolate.

The event was seen as Starmer's attempt at capitalising the Labour Party's lead over the ruling Conservatives in opinion polls after recent stories of alleged rule-breaking in Downing Street at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Labour's Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, will stand in for Starmer at PMQs, where the focus will be on the government's strategy to cope with the continued Omicron surge in the country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalised by Covid in spring 2020, spending three nights in intensive care.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, January 05 2022. 19:58 IST