Coronavirus: Who will make Cabinet decisions during Boris Johnson's absence?

6 April 2020, 21:46

By Fiona Jones

What will happen in the Cabinet and who will make decisions regarding coronavirus in Boris Johnson's absence? This institution expert explains.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at St Thomas' Hospital after his condition has worsened.

Institute of Government's Jill Rutter said the UK constitution isn't really up to dealing with this situation "because we Brits like a constitution where we muddle through and just take whatever is flung at us."

Ms Rutter celebrated Mr Johnson's foresight for "anointing" Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab as the acting leader in his absence which has prevented a jostling for the position.

Iain Dale asked how this will affect the running of the Cabinet as Michael Gove is in charge of coordinating the government response to coronavirus.

"I think the really critical thing is do the other members of the Cabinet accept Dominic Raab's authority, particularly if Dominic Raab is not able to be very obviously channelling the Prime Minister.

"If there are disputes between the ministers, the big advantage of being the Prime Minister is you're the guy that hires and fires them all."

"The issue will be not so much this week because this week is really about delivery...of tests, of economic support package, delivery of the scaled up NHS capacity, making sure that Universal Credit can cope. That's all going to be done by departments."

Ms Rutter said the difficulty is when "big strategic decisions must be made" such as when to ease up on the lockdown, which has to come not from someone who is acting PM but has the authority of a Prime Minister.