George Osborne says country’s ‘health’ dependent on appointment of an acting PM

PUBLISHED: 15:38 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:38 22 April 2020

Former chancellor George Osborne says the 'health' of the nations lays on the government appointing an acting prime minister . Photograph: LBC.

Former chancellor George Osborne says the 'health' of the nations lays on the government appointing an acting prime minister . Photograph: LBC.

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The former chancellor George Osborne has said the country faces a power vacuum if it does not appoint an acting prime minister during the coronavirus pandemic.

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George Osborne told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett that without a legitimate decision-maker during the Covid-19 outbreak, the government was jeopardising “the health and recuperation of a country.”

Osborne said: “In our system the prime minister makes all the important and difficult decisions others don’t want to make. That is nature of the job.

“If he [Boris Johnson] is going to be out for a prolonged period then Dominic Raab does need to be the acting PM – not just the deputy who stands in when the PM is on a foreign trip.”

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“This is different. I certainly agree that you can’t rely on the health and recuperation of one person before you make decisions about the health and recuperation of a country of 60 million people.

“We need decision making at the highest level. If he can’t do it - and I hope he can – but if he can’t then his acting PM needs to make those decisions.”

The now newspaper editor appealed for the furlough scheme to be extended until next year. He said: “Because many companies will say if you don’t pay this furlough then we are going to have to make these people redundant. I think furlough will be there for a quite a long time and will be extremely expensive because the taxpayer is paying to employ people.”

He also encouraged companies enjoying the scheme to repay the favour at the end of the current health crisis.

Osborne recently took a pay cut in his role as editor of the Evening Standard.

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