Coronavirus: Who is Boris Johnson's deputy? Who takes over as Prime Minister if can't continue?

6 April 2020, 20:35 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

Dominic Raab would take over as PM if Boris Johnson is unable to carry on
Dominic Raab would take over as PM if Boris Johnson is unable to carry on. Picture: PA

With the news Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care for his Covid-19, we look at who would take over if he is unable to continue.

After the Prime Minister's coronavirus symptoms did not go away, he attended hospital for precautionary tests on the advice of his doctor. Downing Street confirmed that he had attended to hospital, but still remained in charge of the government.

But as his condition worsened, he was moved to the ICU and the government confirmed that Dominic Raab would take over leading the government.

While other countries have a chain of succession which makes it clear who takes over from the leader should something happen leaving them unable to fulfil the duties of their office, the UK does not.

In the USA the Presidential line of succession starts with the Vice President and ends with the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The US also always has a "designated survivor" who is a named individual in the presidential line of succession, chosen to stay (at a secure and undisclosed location) away from events such as State of the Union addresses and presidential inaugurations.

This means should the President die then there is always someone ready to take over.

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Who is the UK 'Designated Survivor'?

But, the UK does not have a line of succession and the role of Deputy Prime Minister is not filled in Boris Johnson's Cabinet.

However, it has been announced Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab will take over prime ministerial duties if Boris Johnson is infected with coronavirus or is otherwise incapacitated.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary."

It is also understood that each minister has nominated backups in the event of being struck down by the virus.

If Dominic Raab becomes incapacitated, then Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be the next in line to run the government.

Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

Who is Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab has been Foreign Secretary since July 2019, and has been the MP for Esher and Walton since 2010.

He is also First Secretary of State, which makes him an effective deputy to Mr Johnson.

He was previously Brexit Secretary in Theresa May’s government before resigning following his disagreement with the Draft Withdrawal Bill.