BORIS Johnson and Rishi Sunak were breathing a sigh of relief last night after their Cabinet colleague Alok Sharma tested negative for coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for the Business Secretary said on Thursday evening that Mr Sharma would be able to stop his brief period of self-isolation as he was no longer showing symptoms of the infection.

On Wednesday, the Secretary of State was seen mopping his brow while struggling at the Commons despatch box during the second reading of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill. A parliamentary spokesman confirmed “additional cleaning” of the chamber had taken place.

Mr Sharma, who is also the President of COP26, took to social media, tweeting: "Huge thanks to everyone for their really kind messages over the last 24 hours and my grateful thanks also to the parliamentary authorities and Speaker for their support yesterday. Just had results in and my test for #Covid-19 was negative."

Earlier, Downing St raised the prospect that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor might have had to self-isolate themselves if their colleague’s test had come back positive as it revealed they had spent 45 minutes with the Business Secretary on Tuesday morning in a meeting on the economy prior to the weekly Cabinet.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, told the daily No 10 press briefing that he had spoken to Mr Sharma, who was “doing fine” and was working from home in his Reading constituency.

He also stressed that it had “always been the case” the PM had kept to the two-metre rule from Mr Sharma.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman made clear that, if the PM had been asked to self-isolate again, then "I would expect us to take medical advice and to follow it".

The implications should Mr Sharma have tested positive could have be wide-ranging as he might have infected colleagues and other MPs while at Westminster since its resumption on Tuesday.

The NHS tracers would have contacted the Secretary of State to see who he had been in close contact with on the day he became ill and on the days prior to this, so that they too could self-isolate.

When it was revealed Mr Sharma was taking a Covid-19 test MPs demanded a return to a hybrid Parliament with digital sessions.

But the PM’s spokesman dismissed the notion, saying: "This week, Parliament has agreed a way forward which will allow for people who are shielding or over 70 to take part in proxy voting and also to ensure people who can't attend Parliament in person are able to contribute to proceedings."

Mr Shapps, asked about a change back to a hybrid Parliament, also rejected the idea, saying it was right that Parliament did its “job on behalf of the nation”.

He explained: “The important thing to know is there is a whole series of pieces of legislation, including legislation directly to help fight coronavirus, which are passed through a process called secondary legislation and those happen in smaller committees of MPs and there are dozens and dozens of them.

“Parliament has not been able to pass that legislation and that in turn puts the whole country at risk. So, it’s not some sort of - Parliament has come back because it’s fancied it - it’s come back because it needs to do things on behalf of the nation.

“However, Parliament ensured there is strict social distancing measures in place with votes earlier in the week[ensuring] you are two metres apart at all times,” he added.

Earlier in Commons exchanges, Jacob Rees-Mogg faced calls to resign over his handling of the Commons' return, which opposition MPs said had involved “shambolic” long queues to vote, dubbed the “coronavirus conga”. One vote took 46 minutes.

Alistair Carmichael, the former Scottish Secretary, likened the scene to "exercise hour in a category C prison for white collar criminals".

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, granted the Orkney and Shetland MP’s application for an emergency debate on how the Commons operated during the pandemic with the discussion scheduled for Monday.

During Business Questions, Mr Rees-Mogg came under multiple attacks.

Labour’s Angela Eagle said: "The current Leader of the House is rapidly building a strong claim to the title of the worst holder of the job in living memory.

"He is supposed to be the voice of the Government and the Commons in Government as well as a member of the Government and he's failing dismally at that task.

"He illegally shut down Parliament, then unilaterally abolished the perfectly fair system of electronic voting and hybrid proceedings developed to ensure at least some scrutiny of the Government during the pandemic."

The former Treasury minister then referred to the "coronavirus conga" and warned it put at risk the health of MPs and parliamentary staff, adding Mr Rees-Mogg's "arrogance" was to blame.

She added: "Can he show some bravery and make time next week for us to debate his disastrous record and perhaps even call for his resignation?"

Mr Rees-Mogg dismissed the Wallasey MP’s remarks as “so overcooked[and] exaggerated,” noting: “We poor members, we couldn't queue for a little time to do our public duty, how hard was it?

"It was very amusing reading in The Times how some members were quite incapable of walking in the right direction but that's more their problem than mine."

He pointed out the Government had tabled motions to allow virtual participation for those who could not attend for medical or health reasons and to extend proxy voting to them, noting: "I'm always open and always have been open to listening to any suggestions that MPs have to make."

Labour’s Valerie Vaz said the image of long queues would live with Parliament forever. “Time-wasting, shambolic, breaking the rules, putting people's lives at risk," she declared.

But Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "How can we look teachers in our constituencies in the eye when we're asking them to go back to work and we're saying we're not willing to?"

For the SNP, Patrick Grady said too many members were being "actively excluded" by the Government's refusal to allow MPs to participate remotely.

His Nationalist colleague Alison Thewliss accused Mr Rees-Mogg of putting catering and cleaning staff in the Commons at risk by having MPs return to Parliament.

Meanwhile, the PCS union, representing about 800 of Parliament's clerks, security guards and kitchen staff, wrote to the PM to make an “urgent intervention,” saying that Parliament had “opened too soon and the lives of PCS members, and those of our sister unions, are being put at risk unnecessarily".