What power does Boris Johnson's deputy have? Theresa May's number two speaks

7 April 2020, 11:29

By Seán Hickey

With the Prime Minister staying in intensive care with coronavirus, the cabinet is operating with a de-facto leader in Dominic Raab.

Sir David Lidington was deputy leader for Theresa May when she was Prime Minister and gave Nick Ferrari an insight into what the responsibilities of the Deputy PM would be.

Mr. Lidington pointed out that the process is proof of the functionality of British democracy, as the move was seemingly well prepared and relaxed from the cabinet.

He assured Nick that there is very little that will change, as most decisions in cabinet are made through discussion with all delegates.

"Most decisions taken by this or any government don't require a decision from the PM" he told Nick. "Most business is done in that collegiate consensual way" and that will continue while Boris Johnson is in hospital, only with Dominic Raab at the helm.

Sir David didn't hold back in his acknowledgement of the importance of having a character like Mr. Johnson in the room. He accepted that cabinet operating without him "means there is a political energy that won't be there."

Dominic Raab was given the responsibility of deputy to the PM
Dominic Raab was given the responsibility of deputy to the PM. Picture: PA

Nick prodded Mr. Lidington, wondering if there will be people trying to boost their profile while the substitute is taking classes.

Sir David quashed any suggestion of politicians trying to gain position in the party. He said that "there'll be a very human reaction" to the news coming from hospital of how Boris Johnson's condition has worsened.

"Practically everyone of all political parties goes in with good motive" and this sentiment will rise to the top of each politician's actions from now in this trying time. Theresa May's former deputy said that the "basic drive that got you into politics in the first place was a drive to be of service to the country" and that will be vital to the action of Westminster in future.

He pointed out that "the public will be very unforgiving of anyone putting personal interest ahead" and everyone in cabinet will have this in mind if they had planned a grand stand.

"They are all patriots and will want to be seen to respond right" Sir David added.

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