The event to announce the winner of Labour's leadership election is likely to be cancelled over coronavirus, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has suggested, as other political parties cancelled their spring conferences.

Labour's Mr McDonnell told ITV News he "wouldn't be surprised" if the outbreak of coronavirus meant the party had to cancel the event.

Government ministers will hold a Cobra meeting on Thursday where they will decide whether to move the country's response to the virus from "contain" to the "delay" phase - a move which could eventually result in "social distancing" and the cancellation of large events.

Mr McDonnell told ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt the party will "follow exactly whatever we're advised, the professionals will advise us".

Eight people in the UK have died from coronavirus. Credit: PA

He added: "If the medical advice is that over the next week we end large gatherings and the rest of it, we'll follow that, of course we will."

It comes as Irish Premier Leo Varadkar announced that all schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Ireland will close for more than a fortnight as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr McDonnell said the Labour leadership winner - either Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey or Lisa Nandy - will likely be announced either "though a TV event or social media" but the party's National Executive Committee will decide.

His comments come after the Liberal Democrats cancelled their spring conference over the Covid-19 outbreak.

It said its decision was based on advice from the World Health Organisation, (WHO), which is now treating the outbreak as a pandemic and calling for "urgent and aggressive action".

Plaid Cymru did the same on Thursday morning, saying it had "heeded the latest public health advice" from the WHO.

In a statement, Labour said that "no decision has been taken.

"We will of course be led by the official medical advice, in consultation with our NEC and the leadership candidates.”

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know