In the absence of a written constitution and a code of succession, people of the UK have been scared wondering what would happen if prime minister Boris Johnson dies.
Having been tested positive for COVID-19 a week ago, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been shifted to the intensive care unit as his health conditions took a turn for worse. But what if Boris Johnson dies?
Watch as the first secretary of state Dominic Raab provides an update on the coronavirus outbreak while Boris Johnson remains in ICU
Boris Johnson faces worsened health conditions
On Monday, Boris Johnson deputised Dominic Raab to lead the country. He led meetings about the virus outbreak with other government officials on Monday and Tuesday. Mr Raab is the first secretary of state and thereby, the government’s de facto leader should the Prime Minister fail to carry out his duties due to certain reasons.
Watch: Who is Dominic Raab!
Furthermore, he will be performing other additional duties until the prognosis of Boris Johnson is certain.
Times worse than the aftermath of the world war II
Britain doesn’t have a written constitution and therefore, the country may face a leadership quandary if Boris Johnson dies.
There is an absence of a codified order of succession. And who would know this better than the Prime Minister himself, who has written a book on Winston Churchill.
It was during the time when Winston Churchill was the prime minister of the UK and the nation witnessed its greatest crisis since World War II. Churchill suffered a heart attack and was unable to conderay lead the nation during the war.
The first secretary of the state will lead for the time
However, it is still not clear how the government will function if Boris Johnson dies.
The UK has succession plans too but they are reserved for the monarch.
From what it is usually known, if the Prime Minister passes away, the Conservative party will elects a new leader to take over his duties. This, however, may take weeks or months.
Once, the confirmation by The Queen is received, they go onto becoming the new Prime Minister. Until this is done, The Queen will exercise the power to revise the emergency regulations etc.
In the Conservative Party constitution, Rules for the Election of the Leader notes that: “Upon the initiation of an election for the Leader, it shall be the duty of the 1922 Committee to present to the Party, as soon as reasonably practicable, a choice of candidates for election as Leader. The rules for deciding the procedure by which the 1922 Committee selects candidates for submission for election shall be determined by the Executive Committee of the 1922 Committee after consultation of the Board.”
If there is only one candidate at the time laid down for the close of nominations, that candidate shall be declared Leader of the Party.
As per the Institute for Government think tank, prime ministers continue in office unless they resign or die.
It states: “While political parties usually have the ability to appoint an ‘acting leader’ if the leader resigns or is incapacitated, there is no formal ‘acting prime minister’ role. He or she would be prime minister until they chose to resign or if their cabinet forced them out.”
A possible alternative in the hands of the elected party
Additionally, there’s another possibility. Britain doesn’t need a prime minister constitutionally. Therefore, the leaders can take turns leading meetings and the policies can be passed by the British Civil Services if Boris Johnson dies.