Professor Kevin Theakston quoted in Time magazine article about British Prime Ministers who have fallen ill while in office
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus and had to take a step back from his role as Prime Minister after being admitted to an intensive care unit.
However, Boris Johnson isn’t the first British Prime Minister to be impacted by ill health.
In an article from 8 April 2020, Professor Theakston explains that Churchill also suffered from poor health for around two months after having a stroke in 1953. Professor Theakston tells Time magazine “A week into his recovery period, he started to meet certain political figures who would visit him”. During that time the Prime Minister predominantly resided in Chequers, which is where Boris Johnson has also chosen to stay during his recovery from Covid-19.
The article states that Churchill’s close aides kept the country running as they managed the day-to-day governmental affairs. Professor Theakston explains that “Often [Churchill’s aides] sent out memos in the name of the Prime Minister, when perhaps Churchill hadn’t even seen the memo. They knew his thinking pretty well”.
Professor Theakston says that Churchill’s ill health was kept a secret from the nation; only Queen Elizabeth and some cabinet ministers were aware of the situation. Unlike today where the nation are updated on a daily basis about the current condition of the Prime Minister’s health.
The Time article goes onto explore how Anthony Eden and Margaret Thatcher also led their nation as Prime Minister while unwell.