MP publishes "order of succession" if PM incapacitated

In eight years in parliament, Peter Bone has earned a reputation as a member of the awkward squad of Tory backbenchers hostile to the coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

He takes delight in winding up the deputy Prime Minister (and Lib Dem leader) Nick Clegg, earning a rebuke from Mr Clegg for his "morbid fascination" with the death of David Cameron.

Two years after that rebuke, Mr Bone has tried to turn that fascination into law, with his Prime Minister (Replacement) Bill. This sets out an order of succession should the prime minister become incapacitated.

Mr Bone is no stranger to Wales - he once stood against Neil Kinnock in Islwyn, coming within 24,729 votes of sensationally ousting the then Labour leader. Despite his time in south Wales - he ran a travel agency in Newport - Mr Bone's proposed order of succession offers little prospect of the secretary of state for Wales making it to Downing Street.

Order of Succession

Whoever holds that post would find themselves 23rd in line to No 10 should the prime minister be unable to continue in office. To put it another way, the Welsh secretary would have to rely on the demise of, among others, non-cabinet members the attorney general and the minister of state for the cabinet office before getting the keys to No 10. He would have been 24th but the Commons authorities blocked Mr Bone's suggestion that the Speaker become third in line to the top job.

Fortunately, perhaps for David Jones, Mr Bone's Bill stands no chance of becoming law. It is unlikely even to be debated tomorrow as MPs are due to discuss - at length - another Tory MP's attempt to legislate for an EU referendum.

Mr Bone raised his limited chances of progress with Commons Leader Andrew Lansley at question time, slipping in the incentive that the Bill puts his role 20th in the order of succession.

Mr Lansley almost blushed as he briefly contemplated choosing curtains for No 10: "I wasn't aware of that possibility under the Bill and it ever so slightly changes my perception of the bill but I fear I'm probably still not entirely in favour of it, not least in how it impinges upon Her Majesty's prerogatives under the constitution."