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

5 April 2020, 21:28

Dominic Raab is the "designated survivor to the Prime Minister"
Dominic Raab is the "designated survivor" to the Prime Minister. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson has been hospitalised for tests 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus, leading many to ask who will take his place if he is unable to continue.

A Downing Street spokesperson said it was a "precautionary step", although it is not yet known how long he will remain in hospital for.

But who will that leave in charge if he cannot carry out his duties?

The UK does not currently have a clear chain of succession which makes it clear who takes over from the leader should something happen leaving them.

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

The US always has a "designated survivor" who is a named individual who stays (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.

Who takes over from the PM if he can't carry on?
Who takes over from the PM if he can't carry on? Picture: PA

Who is the UK's 'Designated Survivor'?

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 Dominic Raab would take over prime ministerial duties if Boris Johnson is incapacitated.

A Number 10 spokesperson told reporters that Mr Raab would fill-in as he was First Secretary of State.

“The Prime Minister has the power to delegate responsibility to any of his ministers but, for now, it’s the Prime Minister and then the Foreign Secretary,” they said.

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

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.