Boris’s last day as Prime Minister, REVEALED: Outgoing premier will give 8.30am farewell speech outside No10 then travel to Balmoral to officially resign (before making his own way home) – while Truss or Sunak will meet The Queen to form a new government
- It was announced yesterday, Queen will conduct ceremony at Balmoral – raising fresh concerns for her health
- It will be first time in her 70-year reign that Queen will not receive a new prime minister at Buckingham Palace
- The new prime minister will be the 15th of her reign, but in this instance she is putting health before duty
The Queen will not travel to London to appoint the new prime minister next week. Instead, it was announced yesterday, she will conduct the ceremony at Balmoral – raising fresh concerns for her health.
It will be the first time in her 70-year reign that the Queen will not receive a new prime minister at Buckingham Palace. She has appointed all 14 of her previous PMs there but her recent mobility problems mean she will remain in Aberdeenshire, where she is on her summer break.
Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – the winner of the Tory leadership contest will be announced on Monday – will make the 1,000-mile round trip to the Scottish Highlands on Tuesday to be asked to form a government.
Boris Johnson will go there earlier in the day to formally tender his resignation to the Queen.
The Daily Mail understands that Mr Johnson will depart London early on Tuesday, giving a farewell speech outside No 10 at around 8.30am. Accompanied by senior officials, he will be flown to Scotland on the smaller of the Government’s official planes.
After resigning, he will make his own way home from Balmoral, a nine-and-a-half hour journey by car, 45 minutes by private jet or 90 minutes by scheduled British Airways service from Aberdeen.
Queen Elizabeth II welcoming the newly-elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London in 2019
It was announced yesterday, the Queen will conduct the ceremony at Balmoral (pictured) – raising fresh concerns for her health
Meanwhile, Miss Truss – if, as expected, she wins – will make her own way to Scotland.
Once appointed prime minister, she will fly back on the Government plane while officials brief her on the most urgent priorities, including the nation’s nuclear codes.
She will then give a speech outside No 10 at around 4pm before starting the process of forming her government which will involve the appointment of new ministers and a cabinet.
Then on the Wednesday, before she has her first clash with the Labour leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, she will meet with her new team at 9am, according to the Sun.
Initially it had been intended that the Queen would travel from Balmoral to London for the handover.
But there were fears that if she were to be experiencing what Buckingham Palace has referred to as her ‘episodic mobility issue’ next week, alternative arrangements would have needed to have been made at the last minute.
It is understood the decision to stay at Balmoral was taken at this stage to provide certainty for the outgoing and incoming prime ministers so they can plan their day.
Mr Johnson said arrangements for the handover were being tailored to make sure they suited the 96-year-old monarch.
He sidestepped a question on when he last spoke to her and if he was concerned that she would not be coming to London for the handover, saying: ‘I don’t talk about my conversations with the Queen, no prime minister ever does. But I can tell you we will certainly make sure that the arrangements for the handover will fit totally around her and whatever she wants.’
Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said: ‘The fact officials can’t be sure the Queen will be well enough to travel next week is yet another reminder of her advanced age and increasing frailty.
‘Despite this, the Queen remains determined to carry out her core duties. Appointing a new prime minister is not something that can easily be passed to Prince Charles, a king-in-waiting.’
After a new PM has been appointed, the Court Circular will record that ‘the Prime Minister kissed hands on appointment’. This is not literally the case and it is usually a handshake. In fact, any actual kissing of hands would take place at a Privy Council meeting. That is expected to be the following day but it may be held virtually.
The Queen has faced health issues since last autumn. In March, she missed the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, In May, she missed the State Opening of Parliament, which Prince Charles conducted in her place.
She now regularly uses a walking stick, but was able to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony for her Platinum Jubilee in June.
However, she was not able to attend the traditional summer Palace garden parties or the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The new prime minister will be the 15th of the Queen’s reign, after Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Sir Edward Heath, James Callaghan, Baroness Thatcher, Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
As head of state, it is her constitutional duty to appoint the PM, who leads Her Majesty’s Government – although, of course, the monarch does not choose who runs the country.
Mr Johnson’s final duty is expected to be to advise the Queen who has enough support to form the next government – either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, depending on the Tory leadership race. Although they will be announced as leader on Monday, they do not become PM until they have met the Queen.
HM The Queen Elizabeth II receives Prime Minister Tony Blair Friday May 6, 2005, at Buckingham Palace after the Labour Party won a historic third term in office – but with a reduced majority
Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister following the 2010 General Election
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Theresa May at the start of an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited the former Home Secretary to become Prime Minister and form a new government
Just for once, The Queen is putting her health before duty. That she will now appoint a new PM in Balmoral plainly indicates her family, her advisers and her doctors have urged her to avoid the upheaval of a 1,000-mile round trip, writes ROBERT HARDMAN
The last politician to be summoned to Balmoral to become prime minister was not exactly thrilled. ‘This is “being sent for” with a vengeance,’ complained the Marquess of Salisbury in June 1885 after receiving a telegram ordering him to make haste to Scotland to be appointed by Queen Victoria.
She was just 66, three decades younger than our 96-year-old monarch. Yet Victoria saw no reason to break her Scottish sojourn. After all, she had appointed two previous PMs on the Isle of Wight rather than leave Osborne House.
Her son, Edward VII, was even more demanding after his third prime minister, a dying Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, resigned in 1908.
Herbert Asquith was the successor but he had to travel to the King’s suite at the Hotel du Palais in the French seaside resort of Biarritz to take office.
Next week’s handover is an entirely different matter. Everyone accepts that our longest-lived, longest-reigning monarch – now the world’s oldest head of state – has been the unfailing exemplar of public service. If, after 70 years on the throne, she continues to suffer from ‘episodic mobility issues’, then how can any politician grumble about a day trip to Deeside?
In 1969 the TV event of the year was a documentary called Royal Family, which was a behind-the-scenes look at the hitherto unseen world of Britain’s first family. The Queen meets the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It was the first time the private meeting between the monarch and her Prime Minister was captured on film
Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a ball to celebrate the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference hosted by President Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka, Zambia, October 1979
The only reason that we are already being told the plans for next Tuesday’s handover is precisely to minimise any inconvenience. If two prime ministers (outgoing and incoming) are to be summoned north to Deeside, then they should at least be given plenty of notice in order to plan accordingly.
Besides, the Queen will want a speedy transition. In the absence of a PM, all executive power resides with her and she won’t want to be left running the country, in its present state, for more than an hour or two. The news does, however, raise fresh concerns about Her Majesty’s condition. For, until just a few weeks ago, there had been a very different schedule.
My understanding, from those closely involved, was that the Queen was determined to head south, overnight, in the Royal Train to spend two days in London.
Her intention was not merely to appoint a new prime minister but also to swear in new Cabinet ministers. She was adamant that this should be done in London so that ‘the business of government’ should continue as swiftly and smoothly as possible. Even Windsor was not an option.
As one Government source put it: ‘She did not want the TV news helicopters showing ministers sitting in traffic on the M4 on her account.’
London would also limit the risk of disruption from protesters (who had a go when Boris Johnson was on his way to be appointed in 2019). No monarch has been as conscientious about performing this ritual in the capital.
In February 1974, she felt obliged to cut short a tour of Australia to return to London after Ted Heath had called a snap election (a decision which caused great offence in Australia).
That the Queen has adapted her plans now plainly indicates more than a change of mind. Rather, it suggests that her family, her advisers and, more importantly, her doctors have urged her not to subject herself to the upheaval of a 1,000-mile round trip when there is no constitutional or reputational issue at stake.
Queen Elizabeth II visits British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (1894 – 1986), Chancellor of Oxford University, in Oxford, 4th November 1960. They are climbing the steps of the Clarendon Building
British prime minister James Callaghan (left) with Queen Elizabeth II on his arrival at Windsor Castle for lunch
I am told that she has no new or specific medical condition. She is in excellent spirits and has loved being surrounded by family over recent weeks. Balmoral has been an excellent restorative – as it always is. However, she continues to find it harder to move around comfortably.
As her Platinum Jubilee celebrations showed, even a relatively short journey, like the one from Windsor to London and back, can tire her out for several days.
There is also an important question of dignity. She loves being Queen and has a very clear idea of what people expect in their Queen. ‘She just wants to look the part,’ says a friend.
She is certainly not in hiding. There will be a photographer and a television camera in attendance next week to capture the proceedings at Balmoral.
However, she will certainly look more regal and composed if she merely has to walk from her sitting room to the library, in familiar tartan-draped surrounds, rather than weave her way around the refurbishment works and summer tourists at Buckingham Palace the morning after an overnight train journey.
So, Balmoral it will be. In fact, Mr Johnson does not need to be there since there is a precedent for PMs to resign by letter. Clearly, he feels that it is his duty to resign in person. As we have seen, there is also a precedent for monarchs to appoint PMs outside London, the last being the Queen’s grandfather, George V, who appointed Ramsay MacDonald at Windsor.
Thanks to the pandemic, there is also now an established precedent for swearing in Privy Counsellors and Cabinet ministers by video link.
As for the next occupant of No 10, it is safe to say that she or he will have a less stressful time than the last PM to be appointed at Balmoral. As Andrew Roberts notes in his biography, Salisbury: Victorian Titan, the Tory statesman was so desperate to avoid reporters that he parked himself alone and incognito in a third-class carriage.
The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury calculated – successfully – that it was the one place no one would expect to find an aristocratic statesman en route to see Queen Victoria.
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