Who runs the country if Boris Johnson is out of action? | World news

In his role as first secretary of state, the prime minister’s de facto deputy, Dominic Raab will be expected to stand in for Boris Johnson if he is unable to work because of coronavirus.

While other ministers, including the health secretary Matt Hancock and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, have been more visible during the Covid-19 outbreak, that position means he takes up the prime minister’s responsibilities if Johnson were unable to perform them himself.

Until now aides to the prime minister have insisted that Johnson can continue to work by video link, like much of the rest of the workforce. But on Sunday night Downing Street said that Raab was expected to chair the government’s coronavirus meeting on Monday morning. No 10 said that despite Raab’s duties, Johnson remained in charge.

Like many of the government’s key decision-makers, Raab was a prominent figure in the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, sent out to tour TV studios and staff up the spin rooms for debates.

Unlike Michael Gove, whose dramatic intervention in that summer’s leadership contest has been forgiven but not forgotten, Raab is implicitly trusted by Johnson and his team. Also unlike Gove, he resigned rather than accept Theresa May’s Brexit deal – seen as the ultimate test of a true believer.

Raab has tested negative for coronavirus himself, having come down with a cough.

It has also been reported that if Johnson’s key aides, Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, were to be incapacitated, they would be replaced by Conservative campaign director Isaac Levido. Cummings also displayed symptoms of coronavirus last weekend.

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