The resignation of Boris Johnson fires the starting gun on the race to replace him as leader of the Conservative Party. Specifically, Attorney General Suella Braverman has announced that she will contest the leadership contest, while influential backbencher and staunch Brexiteer Steve Baker has also suggested he is toying with running.
Several major figures in Cabinet are also tipped to join the bid to replace Mr Johnson. Here’s a look at some of the big names being mentioned as potential Prime Ministerial candidates.
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As Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab has been named as perhaps the most likely to step into the role of interim ‘caretaker’ Prime Minister, leading an interim Cabinet until the Conservative party can elect a new leader. However, in Mr Johnson’s resignation speech, he outlined his intention to stay on until the party finds a new leader.
What’s more, if Raab decides to run as party leader himself, that would exclude him from being able to take on the role of interim PM. His loyalty from him to Johnson and the fact that he did not resign could lead to people seeing him as unfit for leadership, however.
Rishi Sunak was the favorite to follow Johnson before he was wrapped up in the same Partygate ends as the Prime Minister. In addition, his wife’s fortune and alleged tax scandals have left Sunak with a bad reputation that has not been wholly wiped clean by his resignation from Johnson’s cabinet.
Resigning at the same time as Sunak, Sajid Javid also made a powerful personal statement in the House of Commons condemning the actions of Johnson as Prime Minister. Formerly Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, many are wondering whether Javid will return to politics in a Conservative leadership bid.
Attorney General Suella Braverman was one of the first to say she was considering making a leadership bid, even before Boris Johnson had formally stepped down. Despite criticism that she doesn’t have enough experience for the role she’s in now, she is already gathering support within the party.
One of Johnson’s final acts as Prime Minister was to fire Michael Gove, who reportedly headed into Downing Street to convince Johnson to step down on the evening of July 6th. Having served as Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations since 2021, Gove’s reluctance to resign from Johnson’s Cabinet has left him with a bad reputation among the party but there are still some whispers he could attempt to become party leader.
Ben Wallace, the current Defense Secretary, has been named as one of the favorites to become the next Conservative Prime Minister, after a YouGov snap poll asked 716 Conservative members who they would vote for. Mr Wallace won by a significant margin, beating Liz Truss by 48% to 29%, Penny Mordaunt by 48% to 26%, Rishi Sunak by 51% to 30%, and Jeremy Hunt by 58% to 22%.
Despite losing out in the YouGov Poll, Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt has also been named as Conservative leader hopeful. Alongside Rishi Sunak, she is at the top of the betting odds for the role and, unlike many other names on the list, has been successful in keeping her name largely separate from the various scandals plaguing the party in recent months.
While speaking to BBC News, Steve Baker said that he was “seriously considering” throwing his hat in the ring for the role of Prime Minister. Coming from the right wing of the party, Baker has a history of anti-green policies and has described himself as “the hard man of Brexit”.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also hinted that he will throw his hat in the ring, saying: “What a depressing state of affairs. So much needless damage caused. We now need a new leader as soon as practicable. Someone who can rebuild trust, heal the country, and set out a new, sensible and consistent economic approach to help families.”
Political commentators widely agree that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to run. This has been compounded by the fact that she cut short an official trip to Indonesia and is expected to issue a statement.
Additional reporting by PA.