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Starmer pulls out of Budget after testing positive for Covid

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has had to pull out of the Budget after testing positive for Covid-19, the party has said.

The leader of the opposition normally responds to the Chancellor’s statement in the Commons but his place at the dispatch box will be taken by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband is standing in for Sir Keir at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The former leader was greeted by ironic cheers from Tory MPs when he stood up in the Commons chamber.

It is the fifth time Sir Keir has had to self-isolate since the start of the pandemic – the most recent occasion was in July when one of his children tested positive.

Earlier, the Labour leader tweeted: “The Budget must take the pressure off working people.

“With costs growing and inflation rising, Labour would cut VAT on domestic energy bills immediately for six months.

“Unlike the Tories, we wouldn’t hike taxes on working people and we’d ensure online giants pay their fair share.”

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