David Cameron praying for ‘tough’ Boris Johnson and says Dominic Raab can do the job while PM in intensive care
David Cameron said the Prime Minister had proven he was ‘fit’ on the tennis court. Image: ITV
David Cameron has said he is praying for the “very tough, very resilient” Boris Johnson to pull through as he remains in intensive care with coronavirus.
The former prime minister - who resigned following the 2016 Brexit vote pushed for by Mr Johnson - said the Tory leader was a “very fit person” who could “come through this”.
And he insisted Dominic Raab, Mr Johnson’s de facto deputy who will now head up the Government’s response, will have the support to make the “right” decisions for the country.
Meanwhile Theresa May wished the Prime Minister a "speedy and good recovery" and said Mr Raab would be backed by a "first class civil service".
The intervention from the ex-Conservative leaders came as Number 10 said the PM was "stable and in good spirits" after his first night in intensive care being treated for coronavirus.
The Prime Minister's official spokesperson also denied claims Mr Johnson needed a ventilator, saying he was recieving "standard oxygen treatment".
He was moved to the intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital in London on Monday evening after his condition "worsened".
The PM was initially diagnosed with the potentially-deadly disease 12 days ago.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Cameron said: “Obviously it’s very worrying news and all of us are praying for Boris and thinking of him and praying and thinking of his family.
"And hoping he gets well soon and gets back to Number 10 where I know he wants to be and we all want him to be.”
He added: “Boris is a very tough, very resilient, very fit person - I know that from facing him on the tennis court and I’m sure he’ll come through this.”
That view was echoed by Mr Johnson's immediate precession Ms May, who told the BBC: “My thoughts and prayers are with Boris and his loved ones today. This must be a terribly difficult time for him and those around him, but I wish him well and I want him to have a speedy and good recovery.”
CAMERON AND MAY: GOVT HAS 'CLEAR PLAN'
Mr Raab, who as well as being Foreign Secretary is also First Secretary of State, has been asked to deputise for the PM while he remains in intensive care, although there have been questions over the extent of his decision-making powers.
He has taken on chairmanship of the Government’s daily C-19 meeting on the response to the pandemic, and will also head up the string of Cabinet committees overseeing different aspects of Whitehall’s work on the outbreak.
Speaking to the Today programme on Tuesday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said: “Dominic takes on the responsibilities of chairing the various meetings that the prime minister would have chaired.
“But we’re all working together to implement the plan that the prime minister set out in order to try to marshal all the resources of government in the fight against this invisible enemy.”
Mr Cameron also said people should not “worry about decisions being made” in Mr Johnson’s absence, because Mr Raab would be able to draw on the “great” Whitehall machine, a sentiment backed by Ms May.
Mr Cameron said: “The Government’s got a very clear strategy, a clear plan where ministers are working to that plan.
“And of course in our system the Prime Minister remains and is always the Prime Minister but if he or she can’t take a decision then the Number 10 team prepare that decision and it can be made by their deputy, in this case Dominic Raab, the first Secretary of State.
“So there’s a very good system in place, the civil service is a great machine, professional, impartial, good at preparing decisions and the right decisions, I’m sure, will be taken.”
And Ms May said: “We have a Cabinet system of government in this country. In Boris’ absence, Dominic Raab is leading that Cabinet, and I know from everything I’ve seen and heard that that Cabient, which is supported by excellent scientific advice, by a first class civil service, they are absolutely committed to deal with this crisis.
“And they’ve been doing the right thing - they’ve listened to the scientiifc advice, they’ve put a good plan in place and they are ensuring that that plan is being put into action.”
She added: “There is always somebody who, if the PM isn’t available, is able to step into that place and lead that Cabinet government.”