George Eustice has said that he believes the Prime Minister’s trip to India should go ahead later this month.

Pressed on the matter on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Mr Eustice said: “Public health does come first but there doesn’t mean that there should be no visits at all for business purposes.”

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He said: “for something like this, I think yes it is appropriate”, adding: “But absolutely measures will be taken to ensure that the visit is Covid-secure.”

He continued: “But I think it is important that the business and the business of politics if you like does continue and doesn’t stop completely – we just need to make sure we take the right precautions.”

Eustice also said on the political show that there is no evidence that the Indian variant of coronavirus is able to “get around” the vaccine.

Asked about the variant from India on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Mr Eustice said: “The last I think I saw… there were around 70 cases. But I think I’ve seen lots of different numbers on different variants – you’ll appreciate, there is quite a few – so it is a fairly small number at the moment. But it is something that we are watching.

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“I’m told that there is no evidence at the moment that this particular variant is able to get around the vaccine, for instance, or indeed that it is necessarily more contagious than the others.”

The Environment Secretary also added on Ridge that he wants to see Cop 26 happen in person.

He said: “Well we think it should be done in person physically.”

“We delayed obviously last year because we wanted it to happen in person, I think it is much more effective if it does happen in person.

“That is absolutely our intention. There may be components of it that are part virtual, that some people attend virtually, but we think for the main leader summit we should try and make sure that it happens in person and that is our intention.”