Boris Johnson will face off against Angela Rayner at Prime Minister’s Questions today amid the ongoing Brexit bill row.
Labour’s deputy leader is standing for Keir Starmer as he quarantines after one of his household developed coronavirus symptoms this week.
Rayner was a prominent member of the shadow cabinet under Jeremy Corbyn – but today is the first time she’ll represent Labour at PMQs.
This week’s PMQs comes comes amid controversy over the Internal Market Bill, which the Government says preempts threats from the EU to block food imports.
One Tory minister said that if the bill comes into force, it could breach international law and could threaten the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Today’s session also comes as the government faces ongoing criticism over its handling of coronavirus.
The UK has suffered one of the highest per capita death tolls in the world since the start of the pandemic, while recent weeks have seen cases begin to rise again after lockdown measures were eased.
There is also Covid chaos across the country with families unable to find tests as supplies run low.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned testing capacity may not meet demand for several weeks.
Reports this morning have suggested that Michel Barnier, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, told a meeting of senior diplomats on Monday that the Internal Market Bill could be an attempt by the government to distract from criticism of its handling of the pandemic.
The government has said today that addressing delays in testing is its ‘number one’ priority.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the government would “do whatever it takes to make sure we have that capacity” and that there remains a “big determination within government” to improve the current system.
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