Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to double the maximum sentence for anybody that coughs at a police officer, she has told LBC.
Currently, common assault on an emergency worker carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
She also confirmed the government would not sanction any councils that fail to reopen schools on 1 June, the date the government has set for some primary schools to reopen. At least a dozen councils have indicated they may not reopen schools on that date.
“First of all, we are not at the 1 June yet, we have time to work together,” she said, adding that she hoped for a “pragmatic solution”.