Who could replace Boris Johnson? Favourites to be next prime minister - Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss
Boris Johnson is set to resign at Tory leader today and step down as UK PM in the autumn
Boris Johnson’s time as Tory leader and UK prime minister is coming to an end.
Mr Johnson is expected to resign as leader of the Conservative Party today (7 July) and will step down as PM in the autumn.
A Tory leadership race will begin in earnest over the summer months with the winner succeeding Mr Johnson as prime minister.
Mr Johnson’s premiership has been under the microscope after both his chancellor and health secretary resigned from the Cabinet.
Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both released statements saying that they had lost confidence in Mr Johnson and more than 50 further resignations from fellow ministers followed.
It comes just weeks after he narrowly won a confidence vote in the wake of the Sue Gray report into a series of private Downing Street parties at the height of Covid lockdown.
The resignations came after Mr Johnson was forced into apologising over his handling of the Chris Pincher row.
It emerged that the Prime Minister had “forgotten” about being told of previous allegations of “inappropriate” conduct.
Mr Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip following claims that he had groped two men, but Mr Johnson was told about allegations against him back in 2019.
The Prime Minister acknowledged he should have sacked Mr Pincher when he was told about the claims against him.
With Mr Johnson’s future as prime minister now in question, we have taken a look at the top five Tories tipped to succeed him.
Who could be the next prime minister?
When Boris Johnson does step down there is no shortage of people in the running for the top job, including Rishi Sunak.
Another favourite to replace Mr Johnson would be Liz Truss, the foreign secretary.
Ms Truss has held various positions under three Tory prime ministers - David Cameron, Theresa May and Mr Johnson - and is the UK’s chief negotiator with the European Union.
Among the other names being touted as possible successors, Penny Mordaunt, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab, have all been mentioned.
Can Rishi Sunak become prime minister?
Mr Sunak, who resigned as the chancellor of the exchequer, has won many admirers from inside the Conservative party with how he handled the pandemic spending.
In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak said it was not a decision he had taken lightly given the economic consequences of the pandemic and war in Ukraine. He wrote:
“However, the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.
“I have been loyal to you [Mr Johnson]. I backed you to become Leader of our Party and encouraged others to do so. I have served as your Chancellor with gratitude that you entrusted me with stewardship of the nation's economy and finances. Above all, I have respected the powerful mandate given to you by the British people in 2019 and how under your leadership we broke the Brexit deadlock.
“That is why I have always tried to compromise in order to deliver the things you want to achieve. On those occasions where I disagreed with you privately, I have supported you publicly. That is the nature of the collective government upon which our system relies and it is particularly important that the Prime Minister and Chancellor remain united in hard times such as those we are experiencing today.”
And added that it comes at a time when the UK is facing “immense challenges”.
“We both want a low-tax, high-growth economy, and world class public services, but this can only be responsibly delivered if we are prepared to work hard, make sacrifices and take difficult decisions,” he continued.
“I firmly believe the public are ready to hear that truth. Our people know that if something is too good to be true then it's not true. They need to know that whilst there is a path to a better future, it is not an easy one. In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different.
“I am sad to be leaving Government but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we cannot continue like this.”
However, an increase in national insurance payments, cuts in the universal credit and the current cost of living crisis brought on by a hike in energy bills have left Mr Sunak open to criticism.
When is the next general election?
The names in the frame to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative party leader will have to take over before the next general election to become prime minister in this term.
After a spate of general elections, leading up to Mr Johnson’s victory in the winter of 2019, the next time UK voters will be asked to go to the polling booth is May 2024.
This is agreed under the Fixed Term Parliament Act though there is the chance of a snap election to be called if the sitting government decides to do so.
If Mr Johnson holds on to power before the next general election then there is the possibility he and the Conservative party may lose out to a rival party, or parties.
Labour have traditionally been known as the Tory’s greatest rival, with Sir Keir Starmer currently leading the party, who is also being questioned by police over potentially breaching lockdown rules.
Sir Keir has said he will resign if he is found to have broken the law.
Next UK prime minister odds
Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab is currently the favourite to succeed Boris Johnson - with odds of 4/1.
Here are the latest odds from Bet365:
- Dominic Raab 4/1
- Rishi Sunak 7/2
- Penny Mordaunt 11/2
- Sajid javid 8/1
- Ben Wallace 8/1
- Liz Truss 10/1
- Jeremy Hunt 10/1