Who could replace Boris Johnson as prime minister if he resigns?


Boris Johnson’s leadership is under serious threat after being issued with a fixed penalty notice by the Metropolitan Police. It comes after police investigating allegations of lockdown parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall said they have now made more than 50 referrals for purposes.

At least 30 more fixed penalty notices will be issued by the ACRO Criminal Records Office, the Metropolitan Police said in its latest update on Operation Hillman, which is looking into breaches of Covid-19 regulations. The Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are among those being served ends.

Previously, Mr Johnson admitted to attending a garden party in Downing Street, which he said he believed was a work event, and also a surprise birthday party in the Cabinet Office following a meeting, which he says he spent less than 10 minutes at. However, No 10 denied that he had any knowledge of a number of other alleged events, including one held the night before Prince Philip’s funeral, which he apologized to Buckingham Palace for.

Readmore: Everything Boris Johnson said as Met Police hands fines to PM and Chancellor

On Tuesday (12 April) MPs from both sides of the House have insisted Mr Johnson must step down now that he has been issued a fine. Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan are among those calling for the Prime Minister to step down.

Previously Mr Johnson has remained defiant and refused to say whether or not he would resign if he were to be hit with a fine in relation to the lockdown-breaking parties. But if Mr Johnson was to resign, a Tory leadership contest would be triggered.

Party members will be given the chance to vote for their next leader, and the winner will be appointed as the new prime minister. This is what happened in 2019 when Theresa May resigned over her failed Brexit deals and Boris Johnson was voted in as the next Tory leader.

The leadership contest consists of two stages – firstly, an MPs vote to get the shortlist down to just two candidates, and finally a vote for all party members to choose their favorite from the final two. So which Tory MPs are likely to put their name in the ring? And who is the bookies’ favourite?

Liz Truss 6/1



Foreign Secretary Liz Truss

Foreign secretary Liz Truss is currently the favorite to win, according to Betfair Exchange.

In January, when asked whether there should be a general election if the Prime Minister is forced out, the foreign secretary said that Boris Johnson “should continue.” She added that the public’s “very genuine concern and anger” should be acknowledged.

Responding to the question of whether it’s her ambition to become the leader of the Conservative party, she said: “I want the Prime Minister to continue his job, he’s doing a great job and I support him 100 per cent.”

Tom Tugendhat 8/1



Tom Tugendhat

Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) chairman Tom Tugendhat said in January that he intends to stand for leader if current PM Boris Johnson is voted out. The Daily Mail has reported that centrist Tories were backing the ex-soldier.

The newspaper said some Conservative MPs believe Mr Tugendhat, the MP for Tonbridge and Malling, represents the “best chance for a fresh start”. On being Prime Minister, Mr Tugenhadt had told Times Radio: “It would be a huge privilege. It’s one of those questions that I know many people ask and some people, some of my colleagues, are coy about and I don’t understand why.

“I don’t think you should be embarrassed to want to serve your country. I was very proud to serve my country in the armed forces and I got to the highest rank I could so that I could have the best effect that I could. And I was very proud to serve as a diplomat around the world.”

Mr Tugendhat has previously been critical of the Government’s handling of the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan. In December, he said there had been a “lack of leadership, urgency and adequate resourcing” in the evacuation from Kabul.

Jeremy Hunt 9/1



Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, who has served as both foreign and health secretary in previous Cabinets, could stand in a second leadership election. Mr Hunt, chairman of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, was the strongest opponent against Mr Johnson when he won the leadership in 2019, coming second before being comfortably beaten.

Earlier this year he discussed not having given up hope to become a Tory leader. The House magazine said he denied actively considering a run, before adding: “I won’t say my ambition has completely vanished, but it would take a lot to persuade me to put my hat into the ring.”

Ben Wallace 9/1



ben wallace

Defense Secretary and former Scots Guard captain Ben Wallace could take the lead from Boris Johnson. The MP for Wyre and Preston North recently won praise for his cool-headed stewardship of his department during the Afghan and Ukraine crises.

But he has hinted that he’s not interesting in running for leader of the party. In an interview in Brussels, he said: “For someone like me to be Defense Secretary is just an amazing thing. It is the best job in government. I get to do what I have always enjoyed and have a background in, so I am not really attracted to anything else.”

Mr Wallace was recently the target of a hoax call made by an “imposter” posing as the Ukrainian PM.

Rishi Sunak 10/1



Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was the 14/5 favorite to be the next Conservative leader in February – but following his fixed penalty notice fine, he’s now slipped down to 10/1. After the PM issued his apology for attending the No 10 garden party in January, Mr Sunak’s hours of silence were seen by some as a suggestion that he was not fully behind the prime minister.

In an interview shortly afterwards, he said he accepted Mr Johnson’s explanation that he was not warned in advance about the gathering. “Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry into this matter and I fully support the Prime Minister’s requests for patience while that concludes,” he told broadcasters.

Asked if the PM should resign if he lied to Parliament, Mr Sunak said: “I am not going to get into hypotheticals, the ministerial code is clear on these matters.” Pressed on whether Mr Johnson had his unequivocal support for him, Mr Sunak swiftly broke off the interview, walking off with a microphone still attached.

Penny Mordaunt 11/1



Penny Mordaunt

Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt could be a potential successor for Mr Johnson despite recent previous threats against her and the government by Tory donor Alexander Temerko.

Mr Temerko said he would bring unspecified legal action against Ms Mordaunt personally, describing her as the “biggest threat to security” after she successfully campaigned against a £1.2 billion cross-Channel power cable project Aquind, a company he is a director of, has proposed. Her response from her was: “I’m happy to be judged on my record.”

However in February the threat of legal action was dropped.

Ms Mordaunt has held several Cabinet positions including defense secretary and is reportedly “well-liked” among the so-called Red Wall MPs elected at the 2019 general election. She has been a Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North since 2010.

Sajid Javid 15/1




Health secretary Sajid Javid previously ran against Mr Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest, but did not make the final two. In January, he told a Downing Street press conference that he “fully supports the Prime Minister” as he waited for the Gray report.

Mr Javid did not rule out another bid in the future, but he said: “We have a leader. We have a Prime Minister.”

Nadhim Zahawi 1/25




Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi could be in the running to become the next Prime Minister. He has been a familiar face during the pandemic after being appointed vaccine minister in November 2020.

His success in the role – which saw him providing updates to Parliament on the vaccine rollout and hosting Downing Street press conferences – led to a promotion to Education Secretary during the Cabinet reshuffle last September.

He had previously backed the PM and said during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program that he believed Mr Johnson was safe in his role “because he’s human and we make mistakes”.




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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