Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab forced into self-isolation for two weeks at crucial time for UK Government

The Foreign Secretary has been forced into self-isolation at an important diplomatic moment for the country.

Dominic Raab is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

The news was announced by a spokesman for the Foreign Secretary and will mean he has to work remotely for 14 days of isolation.

It comes after the European Union warned the UK Government needs to conclude a post-Brexit trade deal by the middle of this month – and as the US election outcome remains unclear.

“The Foreign Secretary was today informed that an individual with whom he has been in recent close contact with has tested positive for coronavirus,” the spokesman said.

“In line with Government regulations and NHS track and trace rules, the Foreign Secretary has taken immediate steps to self-isolate for the required period. He will continue to work remotely during this time.”

The identity of the individual has not been disclosed.

It comes at a difficult time for the UK diplomatically in the aftermath of the US election, which as of 7.45pm tonight, Thursday, November 5 has not been decided.

There have been calls for the Government to criticise the president’s behaviour after he called for vote counting to be stopped – something Raab has sidestepped.

In addition, Britain is under pressure to improve relations with Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger.

Raab has refused to criticise the Republican leader for claiming there is a “fraud on the American nation” and saying he would use the US Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.

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After election night, Mr Raab said that “we need to be patient” and await the outcome of the election.

And he insisted “we have full confidence in the checks and balances of the US system to produce a result”.

He said he would not get “sucked in” to the debate around Mr Trump’s actions, which have been widely criticised as threatening democracy itself.

It is not clear tonight what impact Raab’s isolation will have on his workload or who will stand in for him in the Commons.

But it comes at a busy time for international relations for the Government.

Speaking on his Twitter account earlier today, Raab said the UK and Mexico are in talks to expand trade relations and tackle climate change.

In addition, work is ongoing with the European Union over a post-Brexit deal on which the clock is running down.

Yesterday, Michel Barnier said “very serious divergences” remain between the European Union and UK as efforts continue to strike a post-Brexit trade deal.

The EU’s chief negotiator said the main stumbling blocks were the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition on areas such as state subsidies, fisheries policy and the governance of any deal.

Government representative Lord Frost said progress had been made during two weeks of intensive talks but “wide divergences remain on some core issues”.

“We continue to work to find solutions that fully respect UK sovereignty,” he said.

Even though there has been no breakthrough, it is expected that the two sides will remain in contact by video conference calls, with further talks next week in London.

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The EU believes a deal needs to be done by the middle of November.

They say this is so it can be ratified by the time the UK leaves the single market and customs union when the post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.