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British Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer Contracts Coronavirus

© REUTERS / POOLService to honour British MP David Amess in London
Service to honour British MP David Amess in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
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Most of the government front bench were notably wearing face masks in Parliament on Wednesday after opposition criticism that their conduct was not in line with advice by Health Secretary Sajid Javid to keep taking precautions in public places.
British opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, a Labour Party spokesperson has said.
The Labour leader was replaced at Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament at noon on Wednesday by shadow business secretary Ed Miliband, whose line of attack against PM Boris Johnson focussed on global warming targets.
Strarmer's latest absence came as Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was set to deliver his autumn budget.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will lead the opposition response to Sunak's spending plans. But Starmer pre-empted the speech with a series of tweets insisting Labour would cut taxes if it were in power.
A member of the NHS vaccine support staff looks on as residents wait to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from a member of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service at a temporary vaccination centre set up at Basingstoke Fire Station, Hampshire, south England, as crews continue to take 999 emergency calls - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
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The Conservative front bench and many other of its MPs were conspicuously wearing face masks on Wednesday, with the exception of Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, who this week rejected attacks by his Labour shadow Thangam Debonnaire that his colleagues were acting irresponsibly. Mogg pointed out that Labour MPs' faces were "naked and unadorned" at the party's September conference and various fringe social events.
Johnson rejected the assertion from Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw that the government had been hasty in lifting lockdown restrictions in July — when the schedule had been pushed back by a month.
Political gossip site Guido Fawkes reported that Starmer's photo with Reeves and shadow chief treasury secretary Bridget Phillipson was taken on Wednesday morning, but that both women had since tested negative with lateral flow home testing kits.
Starmer has previously been forced to miss PMQs on at least three occasions after being 'pinged' by the government's Test and Trace system after coming into contact with an infected individual.
Johnson was hospitalised in intensive care after catching the virus last year, spending five days at St Thomas' Hospital just across the river Thames from the Houses of Parliament.
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