Entertainment People Coronavirus-stricken Boris Johnson’s No.2 at No.10: Meet Dominic Raab

Coronavirus-stricken Boris Johnson’s No.2 at No.10: Meet Dominic Raab

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab leaves Downing street in central London on April 6. Photo: Getty
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After Theresa May announced her resignation as prime minister in 2019, Dominic Raab put himself forward to the British public as the “only Brexiteer you can rely on”.

He went on to campaign against Boris Johnson for the Conservative Party leadership but after failing to receive enough Tory support he backed Mr Johnson for the top job.

Now, Mr Raab is at Mr Johnson’s side again as the PM is treated for worsening coronavirus symptoms in an intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Not since World War II have Britons so desperately needed strong leadership. The virus situation in the country is dire; latest data shows that Tuesday was Britain’s most deadly day for COVID-19, with 798 people dying.

More than 6000 people have been killed by the virus in Britain already, while another 55,000 have caught it – including two of the country’s most high-profile residents, Prince Charles and Mr Johnson.

On Wednesday morning (Australian time), Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson was stable, while Mr Raab maintained the leader was in “good spirits”.

The PM is under “close monitoring” and has had oxygen treatment. But Mr Raab said he was breathing without the help of a ventilator.

Although Mr Johnson technically remains in charge of the nation, the spotlight has turned on Mr Raab, who will deputise “where necessary”.

Unlike in other countries, Britain’s leader does not have a deputy so there is no clear line of succession.

But late in March, when Mr Johnson tested positive for COVID-19, Downing Street designated Mr Raab as the leader’s right-hand-man should the PM’s health reach grave levels.

“It comes as a shock to all of … he’s not just a prime minister…he’s a friend,” Mr Raab said on Wednesday.

Seven things to know about Dominic Raab

  • He was brought up primarily by his mother after his father, a former child refugee, died when Mr Raab was 12
  • He studied law at Oxford University, got a master’s degree at Cambridge University, and became a qualified solicitor in 2000
  • In 2011, a year after entering Parliament, Mr Raab said feminists were “among the most obnoxious bigots” in Britain. He also claimed “men work longer hours, die earlier, but retire later than women”. In 2019, he defended his controversial comments, telling the BBC it was “really important that in the debate on equality we have consistency and not double standards and hypocrisy”
  • Mr Raab worked different jobs as a junior minister for the May government in the eight years to July 2018, when he was appointed Brexit secretary. He stepped down from the role after about four months. He strongly opposed the Ms May’s proposed Brexit withdrawal deal, telling her in his resignation letter that “you deserve a Brexit secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction”
  • In 2019, Mr Raab vied to be Britain’s next Conservative leader following Ms May’s resignation. Despite calling himself the only candidate who could “be trusted to deliver Brexit”, Mr Raab didn’t make it far enough in the Tory leadership race to go head to head against Mr Johnson. He was eliminated in the second round of voting, and decided to back Mr Johnson
  • After Mr Johnson won the leadership contest, he replaced rival Jeremy Hunt as foreign secretary with Mr Raab
  • The initial news that Mr Raab would fill in if Mr Johnson became too unwell was, according to one opinion article, received like “a cup of cold sick” by his cabinet rivals. They apparently believed he lacked emotional intelligence and feared he wouldn’t be able to rise to the job.