Foreign Minister Dominic Raab will represent Boris Johnson during his stay in the clinic. Why the British prime minister made a former rival his deputy.
No one in Great Britain had previously thought that it would be Dominic Raab who is now in the spotlight. Because other names were circulating in the days before the Corona crisis – by men who, in the eyes of their admirers, made a name for themselves in the cabinet: The young finance minister Rishi Sunak, who appears with dream-like security, although he has only been in office for a short time, is euphorically attested that he has “the talent to be boss” and acts like a “premier in waiting”. Matt Hancock, who as Health Minister has to explain too often why the government makes so many mistakes, has also gained in profile.
But it is the Secretary of State whom Boris Johnson appointed last summer as First Secretary of State, a sort of de facto proxy. Therefore, he now represents the prime minister during his stay in the clinic. As head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as his department is officially called, Raab has appeared above all with the return of stranded Brits from vacation. Now he suddenly has to deal with the crisis on the island much more intensely, because he has been leading the briefings with scientists since Monday and sits in the cabinet as a primus inter pares, the first among equals.
Raab is not a classic sympathizer; he often looks strained and like a student who wants to show off in front of teachers and parents with particularly good grades. When he is under pressure, a vein pulsates dramatically on his temple. The 46-year-old is the son of a British mother and a Czechoslovakian Jew who was sent to Britain in 1938 at the age of six. Raab studied law in Oxford and Cambridge and gained experience in Brussels, Ramallah and The Hague before joining the Foreign Office and being elected in 2010. By 2018, he had risen from a secondary position as sub-secretary to several secretary jobs to the Brexit minister.
He did not have to bend: Raab had campaigned for the EU exit in the 2016 referendum campaign. His job as Brexit minister earned him little fame: Raab made several comments that showed that he could not assess the economic consequences of leaving the EU. He also got the nickname “Turnip” in Brussels, a play on words with the Dutch term Raap. In the negotiations, it was said, he was often narrow-minded and arrogant.
In 2018, Raab resigned in protest against Theresa May’s Brexit policy
In autumn 2018, he resigned in protest against May’s deal with Brussels, which contained the then controversial “backstop”, a special solution for Northern Ireland. The deal is a “betrayal” of the British people. When May had to resign, Raab threw herself into the race with Verve to succeed her.
He appeared early in the competition in the media with chic home stories and presented himself as the future Tory boss with karate belts, international experience and enthusiasm for Brexit. The House of Commons saw it differently: Raab dropped out of the race early because he didn’t get the necessary number of supporters and stood behind Johnson. After his own victory, he rewarded him with the job of the Foreign Minister.
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