Boris Johnson urged to confirm what will happen if he gets coronavirus

A Tory MP has called on Boris Johnson to set out a formal procedure for what happens if the Prime Minister is incapacitated or killed.

Peter Bone has been trying to have a line of succession laid out in law for almost a decade without success.

He called on the government to back his Bill so it could be in place in case the PM falls ill with coronavirus.

"Nobody seems to be able to tell me what happens if the Prime Minister is incapacitated," Mr Bone told the Mirror.

"Maybe there's a letter somewhere that says who's in charge." 

He added: "In a national emergency, you don't want to be scrabbling around worrying about who's in charge.

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"And you don't want the Foreign Secretary and the Cabinet Office Minister arguing about who's in charge."

Mr Bone has a private members' bill progressing through the Commons – but it's unlikely to progress without the backing of the government.

"The Government should adopt it," he said.

Mr Bone has asked the same question of successive Prime Ministers and their deputies a total of ten times since he was elected to the Commons in 2010.

In 2018, he asked then-Cabinet Office minister and de facto Deputy PM David Lidington "with whom he would plan to co-ordinate the delivery of Government objectives in the event that the Prime Minister was temporarily or permanently incapacitated.”

Constitution minister Chloe Smith answered the question, noting that in cabinet meetings the next most senior person would take charge.

But she added: “In the event of the permanent incapacity of the Prime Minister, the appointment of a new Prime Minister is a matter for Her Majesty The Queen acting under the Royal Prerogative.”

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