Johnson to take part in PMQs from coronavirus self-isolation

Boris Johnson will answer Prime Minister’s Questions remotely as he continues to self-isolate.

The Prime Minister has been confined to Downing Street after being in contact with Tory MP Lee Anderson, who tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Johnson will take part from self-isolation rather than having his deputy Dominic Raab stand-in for him at the despatch box.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There is an agreement that Prime Minister’s Questions will go ahead and the Prime Minister will take part remotely.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will be in the Commons chamber for the weekly clash with the Prime Minister on Wednesday as usual.

The Government has been under pressure to extend remote participation in parliamentary debates amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

On Sunday, when news of the Prime Minister’s self-isolation broke, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he had been “urgently exploring how we can support additional virtual participation” – but that move was apparently unrelated to Mr Johnson’s circumstances.

Up to 50 MPs can attend the Commons chamber due to social distancing requirements, while Zoom contributions are currently allowed for questions sessions, urgent questions and ministerial statements.

But Wednesday’s session will be the first time that the Prime Minister has answered questions using the video conferencing software.

Mr Johnson’s virtual participation comes despite a negative test for coronavirus.

The Prime Minister took a rapid turnaround lateral flow test as part of a pilot scheme for No 10 staff.

“The PM took a test yesterday and that test was negative,” his spokesman said.

“But he will, in accordance with the rules on self-isolation, continue to self-isolate.”

The Prime Minister has been shut in Downing Street since he received an email saying Mr Anderson – who he hosted for a breakfast meeting last Thursday – had tested positive.

He is working from an office in No 10 that he can reach from his flat in No 11 without coming into contact with Downing Street staff.

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