New rule to replace Prime Minister to be debated by MPs in Parliament

By Neil Shaw & Tom Beattie

MPs are to debate a new rule which would allow them to replace the Prime Minister in Parliament this afternoon.

The Prime Minister (Temporary Replacement) Bill is to be debated in the House of Commons.

If passed into law the Bill would allow for the powers - and pay - of the Prime Minister to be passed down to the next in line of succession automatically either temporarily or permanently.

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The Bill also makes it clear the Queen would maintain the ultimate power to choose her Prime Minister.

The Bill is not linked to the current crisis which has seen calls for Boris Johnson to stand down because of his links with parties held in Downing Street during lockdown.

But the lack of a clear succession plan became obvious earlier during the pandemic when Mr Johnson fell ill with Covid and spent time in hospital.

Throughout his illness, even when incapacitated in bed, Boris Johnson remained Prime Minister as there was no clear mechanism to temporarily replace him.

Since that incident Boris Johnson has appointed a Deputy Prime Minister - Dominic Raab - but not every Prime Minister has a deputy and the role has no full constitutional power or definition.

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