LONDON (Reuters) – British foreign minister Dominic Raab is designated to take over leadership of the country if Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently ill in hospital with persistent symptoms of the coronavirus, is unable to fulfil his role.
Johnson is still leading the government, according to his ministers, but Raab stood in for him at Monday’s meeting of the COVID-19 response committee.
– Raab, 46, ran against Johnson to become leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister in 2019. During that campaign he criticised Johnson’s “bluff and bluster” over Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Raab was eliminated midway through the contest and then endorsed Johnson.
– He was appointed as foreign minister in Johnson’s first cabinet after the prime minister took office in July 2019. Raab is a hardline eurosceptic, who has long campaigned for Britain to leave the EU.
– The son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, Raab was brought up in the southern English region of Buckinghamshire and studied law at Oxford University before becoming a lawyer working on project finance, international litigation and competition law.
– Before entering parliament in 2010 Raab also worked for Britain’s diplomatic service including a posting in The Hague working on bringing war criminals to justice. He also advised the government on the Arab-Israeli conflict and counter-terrorism.
– A karate black belt, he served briefly as Brexit minister under then-prime minister Theresa May before quitting in protest at her proposed deal to leave the EU.
– While Brexit minister he was derided for saying that he hadn’t fully realised how reliant Britain was on the Dover-Calais ferry crossing for trade. The route is one of Britain’s busiest and most important links with continental Europe.