With Boris Johnson in the ICU, who's in charge of Britain? Meet Dominic Raab!
Dominic Raab is now in charge of Britain, until Johnson recovers. Here's what you need to know about him.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will run the country while Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care and any decision on lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions won't be delayed, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday.
"The person who is running the country, following the plan that the prime minister has set out, is Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary," Gove said on ITV.
Asked if a decision on changing lockdown restrictions, due to be reviewed on Monday, would be put off, Gove said: "No it won't be delayed. It will be the case that we will take that decision collectively as a cabinet... the person who will make the final decision is... the foreign secretary."
Johnson is still leading the government, according to his ministers, but Raab stood in for him at Monday's meeting of the COVID-19 response committee.
- Raab, 46, ran against Johnson to become leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister in 2019. During that campaign he criticised Johnson's "bluff and bluster" over Britain's exit from the European Union.
Raab was eliminated midway through the contest and then endorsed Johnson.
- He was appointed as foreign minister in Johnson's first cabinet after the prime minister took office in July 2019. Raab is a hardline eurosceptic, who has long campaigned for Britain to leave the EU.
- The son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, Raab was brought up in the southern English region of Buckinghamshire and studied law at Oxford University before becoming a lawyer working on project finance, international litigation and competition law.
- Before entering parliament in 2010 Raab also worked for Britain's diplomatic service including a posting in The Hague working on bringing war criminals to justice. He also advised the government on the Arab-Israeli conflict and counter-terrorism.
- A karate black belt, he served briefly as Brexit minister under then-prime minister Theresa May before quitting in protest at her proposed deal to leave the EU.
- While Brexit minister he was derided for saying that he hadn't fully realised how reliant Britain was on the Dover-Calais ferry crossing for trade. The route is one of Britain's busiest and most important links with continental Europe.
The British government declined on Tuesday to say who had responsibility for the United Kingdom's nuclear codes while Prime Minister Boris Johnson is treated in intensive care for COVID-19 complications.
When asked by the BBC if Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had been handed the nuclear codes while Johnson receives treatment, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: "There are well developed protocols which are in place."
"I just really cannot talk about national security issues," Gove said.
The United Kingdom is one of the world's five official nuclear weapon states and has four nuclear submarines armed with Trident II D5 ballistic missiles loaded with nuclear warheads. The United Kingdom has a stockpile of about 215 nuclear warheads, though about 120 are operationally available.
Only the British prime minister can authorise a nuclear strike. Such an order would be transmitted to one of Britain's nuclear submarines with a special set of codes.