Boris in intensive care

The Guardian reports:

Since Sunday evening, the has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

Over the course of afternoon, the condition of the has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.

The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the first secretary of state, to deputise for him where necessary.

The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.

Obviously hoping Boris makes a full recovery, but it is not a trivial thing to be moved to intensive care.

This one of the peculiarities of British politics. There generally is no Deputy and the Conservatives generally do not have a Deputy Leader.

The first Deputy PM was Clement Attlee in WWII. There was no Deputy PM from 1955 to 1962 and 1963 to 1989. The last Deputy PM was Nick Clegg from 2010 to 2015.

In the absence of a Deputy PM, the de facto No 2 is the First Secretary of State and if that office is vacant then the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The last few holders have been:

  • Peter Mandelson (2009 – 2010)
  • William Hague (2010 – 2015)
  • George Osborne (2015 – 2016)
  • Damian Green (2017)
  • Dominic Rabb (2019 – 2020)

So Rabb would act as PM while Johnson is unable. If Johnson died he would be a caretaker PM until the Conservatives appoint a new leader.

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