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Sliding doors: What May and Johnson's day will look like

The door of 10 Downing Street is seen, in London, Britain July 24, 2019.
The door of 10 Downing Street is seen, in London, Britain July 24, 2019. Copyright REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
Copyright REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
By Alice Tidey
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Both May and Johnson will head to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday — one to resign as Prime Minister and one to be anointed new British leader.


For just about an hour on Wednesday, Britain will be leaderless

That's roughly the amount of time between Theresa May's official resignation to the Queen and the monarch receiving and anointing the country's new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Theresa May

The change of power following a leadership contest is swift and perhaps a bit disorienting for the departing prime minister.

On Wednesday, May held her last Prime Minister Questions in parliament and then went back to Downing Street for a farewell lunch. By then, it appears, many of her personal belongings will have already been whisked away.

After her lunch and her very last speech at the lectern in front of Downing Street at 15:00 CET, she will board her ministerial car — a bullet-proof Jaguar — to head to Buckingham Palace for a meeting with the Queen to officially tender her resignation.

The monarch will ask her to recommend a successor capable of commanding the confidence of the House of Command — in this case, Boris Johnson.

From there, May will head to her new home. She said last month that she would continue her work as a member of parliament for her Maidenhead constituency. Her predecessor, David Cameron, resigned as an MP a month after handing over the prime leadership.

Boris Johnson

For Boris Johnson, however, the day will really only just begin.

Summoned by the Queen, he will also head to Buckingham Palace where he will be invited to form a new government in a tradition called "kissing hands" — although "no more than a touch of the lips" upon the Queen's hand is recommended.

A photo of the meeting will be made public. Johnson will be the Queen's 14th prime minister.

Now officially the prime minister, Johnson will head to Downing Street where he will be welcomed by staff clapping. He will then pronounce his first speech as Britain's leader.

One of his first tasks will be to write a "Letter of Last Resort" detailing what the commanding officers of the country's four nuclear submarines should do in the event Britain is attacked and the Prime Minister and second-in-command are incapacitated.

After that, and between calls with other world leaders and briefings, he will also name his cabinet.

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