Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus. Here’s what happens if he becomes too ill to remain prime minister.

Image
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Getty
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and said he’s experiencing symptoms.
  • His representative said he would remain prime minister and continue his duties through teleconferencing.
  • However, if he became too ill to remain in his post, a member of his Cabinet would take his place.
  • Here’s the plan if Johnson becomes too ill from the coronavirus to stay in the job.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate for seven days.

The prime minister announced the news on Twitter on Friday morning, saying he had a cough and a temperature on Thursday afternoon.

A representative for Johnson insisted on Friday that the prime minister would remain in his post and continue leading the UK’s response to the coronavirus crisis via teleconferencing.

Here’s what would happen if Johnson became too ill to remain prime minister.

Who is Johnson’s ‘designated survivor’?

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appears on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain, November 17, 2019. Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS
Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign secretary. Reuters

For now, Johnson will remain in his post. But the prime minister has made the UK’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, his “designated survivor” should he become too ill, The Sunday Times reported over the weekend.

Raab, who has twice tested negative for the coronavirus, would become the de facto prime minister while Johnson received treatment.

The decision to give Raab the job reportedly upset some other members of Johnson’s Cabinet.

One unnamed minister told The Times: “If Boris can’t do his job because he is incapacitated, a lot of people think that Michael [Gove] should be running the show, not Raab. One of these people is Michael, of course.”

What happens if Johnson cannot continue

Downing Street
10 Downing Street. 10 Downing Street History

Should Johnson become too ill to remain prime minister, Raab would step in.

As the UK is a parliamentary democracy, there would be no need, under the UK’s unwritten constitution, for an immediate election. However, political pressure from the opposition could eventually lead to one.