"Dominic Raab in charge for too long could be problematic"

7 April 2020, 18:57

By Seán Hickey

The lack of power for Boris Johnson's deputy could lead to complications in the long run, a former senior government advisor said.

Jill Rutter is from Institute for Government, has worked in Whitehall and in Number 10 and joined Eddie Mair to react to Dominic Raab's coronavirus press conference.

The topic of what Mr. Raab can and cannot do as the stand-in for Boris Johnson took up much of the questioning at the press conference and compelled Eddie and Ms. Rutter to discuss the matter on air.

"Do you think once this is all over, people will have a look at why we're muddling through on something as important as who is running the country" Eddie wondered.

Ms. Rutter accepted that the stand-in method "works temporarily" for situations like when the PM is on holiday or is otherwise engaged.

Dominic Raab is standing in for the PM while he is in hospital
Dominic Raab is standing in for the PM while he is in hospital. Picture: PA

The former government advisor said that the situation "becomes much more problematic if we're in a semi-limbo state for a longer period".

Ms. Rutter said that there must be a discussion of "a more formal transfer of the prime ministerial powers" should Boris Johnson be out of action for a more prolonged period, as Mr. Raab will eventually need powers over the cabinet in the absence of the PM.

The Institute for Government official noticed that "there was a lot of talk about what Dominic Raab couldn't do" at the press conference and that should be taken into account when thinking about how long he could be in charge for.

She warned that if Boris Johnson is out for a long period of time things "could become much more problematic" for Dominic Raab when operating in the PM's shoes.