Keir Starmer to miss PMQs while he waits for family member's Covid test result

15 September 2020, 18:25 | Updated: 15 September 2020, 19:15

Sir Keir Starmer will not be participating in Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday
Sir Keir Starmer will not be participating in Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Sir Keir Starmer will miss Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday as he is "still awaiting" the result of his family member's coronavirus test.

The Labour leader is still in self-isolation after a member of his household began showing symptoms of Covid-19.

He will be replaced at the despatch box by the party's deputy leader and shadow first secretary of state Angela Rayner.

Downing Street has been informed and it is understood Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still take the session as his de facto deputy, Dominic Raab, is currently visiting the US.

Convention usually dictates that the other party nominates someone else to stand if the Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition is absent.

Read more: Sir Keir self-isolating after household member shows Covid symptoms

Watch: Call Keir - Labour leader Keir Starmer - watch in full

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A spokesman for Sir Keir said on Tuesday: "Keir Starmer is still awaiting the test result for a member of his family.

"He is therefore remaining in self-isolation and will not participate in Prime Minister's Questions tomorrow.

"Angela Rayner, deputy leader and shadow first secretary of state, will be taking his place. We have informed Number 10."

It comes after Sir Keir - who entered self-isolation on Monday - was replaced by shadow business secretary Ed Miliband during Monday's debate in the Commons over the UK Internal Market Bill.

The former Labour leader clashed with Mr Johnson over the legislation, during which he gave an impassioned speech about why he would not support the Bill which, he claimed, would "get Brexit undone".

At last week's PMQs, Starmer accused the government of being unable to "get the basics right" following reports that people were being denied Covid-19 tests.

Ed Miliband blasts Boris Johnson over Internal Market Bill

Earlier on Tuesday, Sir Keir called for the "fire-and-rehire tactics" deployed by some companies during the coronavirus pandemic to be outlawed.

In his speech to the Trade Union Congress conference, the Labour leader said the treatment of staff at companies such as British Airways and British Gas was "wrong".

Making his contribution from home, he said firing and rehiring - when people are given notice of redundancy and then hired back on worse pay and conditions - was "against British values".

He said: "They should also be illegal. These tactics punish good employers, hit working people hard and harm our economy.

"So, I'm calling on the government to act now - introduce legislation to end fire and rehire."

He also set-out Labour's vision for extending the furlough scheme, which is due to be wound up in October.

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