Wednesday, 28th October 2020

Raab's in charge: what the acting prime minister can and can't do

FOREIGN secretary Dominic Raab is officially in charge of the country, but his powers are limited. What can and can’t he do? 

Continue lockdown

The first secretary of state needs cabinet approval to keep Britain in lockdown past next Monday’s deadline, but will almost certainly get it. The only objection will be from Priti Patel demanding it be permanent.

Start a war

Raab does not have the authority to command Britain’s armed forces to begin a full-scale air and ground war with a foreign power, a limitation discovered within 45 minutes of his appointment when he said ‘Right, now I’m in charge we’re having a war.’

Order new lanyards

The power to order new green-and-white FIGHTING FOR BRITAIN lanyards is fully Raab’s, and he has wasted no time in exercising it. Furthermore while everyone else’s has white lettering on green, his is green-on-white making him more special.

Fire Rishi Sunak

Despite the backing of everyone else in cabinet, who resent this cocky little upstart the public don’t hate yet just as much as he does, Raab does not have the authority to fire the chancellor and replace him with someone better qualified, eg former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

Hold a karate demonstration

Whitehall has confirmed that yes, black belt Dominic Raab does have the authority to turn his daily press conference into a demonstration of his skill in martial arts. Members of the press will be invited to rush him and he will take them down.

Launch one nuke

A loophole in Britain’s unwritten constitution allows Raab to launch a single nuclear warhead but only one. The next 72 hours, as he agonises over the perfect target, will be torture for him.