ALOK Sharma, the Business Secretary, has been tested for coronavirus, it has emerged, after becoming visibly unwell in the House of Commons chamber.

The SNP has called for an immediate return to a hybrid Parliament to ensure MPs’ safety.

Mr Sharma, who represents Reading West, has travelled home to self-isolate after he struggled during a speech at the despatch box during the second reading of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill on Wednesday.

The development came just a day after MPs approved the Government's plan to end virtual voting in the Commons.

A spokeswoman for Mr Sharma said: "Secretary of State Alok Sharma began feeling unwell when in the chamber delivering the second reading of the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Bill.

"In line with guidance he has been tested for coronavirus and is returning home to self-isolate."

During the debate, he was seen wiping his face with a handkerchief several times and his opposite number in Labour's shadow cabinet, Ed Miliband, passed him a glass of water at one point.

Toby Perkins, the Labour shadow minister, had raised concerns over Mr Sharma's appearance in the Commons earlier in the day and later doubled-down on his criticism after learning of the test.

"This is ridiculous. It was clear that Alok Sharma looked unwell," he declared.

"If there are now fears that he may have Covid-19 and he hadn't already tested negative, it was the height of irresponsibility for him to be in Parliament sniffling, sweating and snorting from the despatch box."

The despatch box was being wiped down between exchanges but the scheduled pause after the Bill's reading went on for longer than expected and journalists were unusually asked to leave the press gallery.

Digital voting in the Commons was ended on Tuesday when MPs approved a Government motion introduced by Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg despite widespread objections.

Senior Conservatives, opposition groups and the equalities watchdog raised concerns that the move would prevent many MPs, particularly the elderly and vulnerable ones who are shielding, from being able to vote.

Chaotic scenes unfolded in the Commons when MPs formed a long queue snaking through Parliament so they could maintain social distancing while voting on the motion.

Boris Johnson on Wednesday dismissed complaints over the system, saying: "I do not think it's unreasonable that we should ask parliamentarians to come back to this place and do their job for the people of this country."

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the scenes were "shameful" and pushed the Prime Minister to end the "completely unnecessary and unacceptable" process.

Mr Miliband, who could potentially be contacted by NHS contact tracers and asked to self-isolate if Mr Sharma was to test positive for Covid-19, sent his "best wishes" to the Business Secretary for a quick recovery, adding: "Hope he feels better soon."

Responding to the development, the SNP said virtual proceedings must now return without delay after Mr Sharma's suspected case of Covid-19.

Kirsty Blackman, the party’s deputy leader at Westminster, said the suspected case demonstrated "just how ridiculous and irresponsible the Tory Government's decision to end virtual participation in Parliament was".

The Aberdeen MP went on: "They must now rectify this serious mistake and reintroduce hybrid proceedings without delay.

"In light of this development it's difficult to see how else Parliament can proceed but what is clear is that this botched system isn't working and needs to change urgently to protect our democracy.

"Millions of people across Scotland and the UK have been disenfranchised by the Tory decision, which has blocked many MPs from participating and voting."

The Commons authorities said "additional cleaning" had taken place after Mr Sharma's suspected case of coronavirus.

A Commons spokeswoman said: "The House's priority is to ensure that those on the estate are safe while business is facilitated.

"We have closely followed guidance from PHE on action to take following a suspected case of Covid on site, including additional cleaning.

"Our risk assessment outlines the measures we have already put in place to reduce the risk of transmission in Parliament," she added.