The UK government has revealed that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will become the acting prime minister as the “designated survivor” if Boris Johnson is hit by the deadly coronavirus, much to the dismay of many of Raab’s critics.
A Downing Street spokesperson stressed on Monday that Johnson was in good health but, in the event he did fall victim to the virus, Raab – as “the first secretary of state” – would take temporary charge of the country.
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It comes after some media reports that certain UK ministers had been pushing for Michael Gove – the cabinet office minister and key ally of Johnson – to take over the reins, rather than Raab.
The prospect of Raab being given such responsibility during one of the biggest crises the UK has had to face in modern times has prompted both genuine dismay and mockery in equal measure on social media.
A number of gifs were posted on Twitter illustrating how much little confidence some had in the incumbent foreign secretary, who has a track record littered with gaffes and controversies, particularly when it comes to the subject of geography.
Dominic Raab designated survivor if the PM falls i’ll. We’re doomed!! 🙄 pic.twitter.com/r8CEk4FHXz— Gary Wilson #LabourProletarian (@garywilson2013) March 23, 2020
pic.twitter.com/Tn0GJ5EJ8e— Celt Abroad (@celt_abroad) March 23, 2020
Others joked that it was a shame actor Kiefer Sutherland, who plays US President Tom Kirkman in the Netflix political drama ‘Designated Survivor,’ was not available. Sutherland’s character is promoted to commander-in-chief after an explosion kills every politician ahead of him in the presidential line of succession.
Phew Kiefer can put his feet up so! pic.twitter.com/PsDvjDU26F— Cllr Emma Murphy (@ladublinoise) March 23, 2020
Last week in the House of Commons, Raab was asked by Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry why there were 60 UK citizens stranded in Lima, due to travel restrictions imposed in the face of the global pandemic.
In response, Raab claimed that the foreign office was working very hard to repatriate any UK citizen stranded in the Philippines, before Thornberry had to remind the minister that Lima is, in fact, in Peru.
Last November the 46-year-old MP for Esher and Walton was jeered by his local residents after appearing not to know where he was for his general election hustings in his own constituency.
In November 2018, while in his post as Brexit secretary, he was widely ridiculed for saying he “hadn’t quite understood” the importance of the cross-Channel trade which takes place at the English port of Dover.
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