Who could replace Boris Johnson? Tory ministers’ odds to be PM if Boris Johnson resigns after Sue Gray report

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are among the favourites to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative party - and potentially be the next prime minister of the UK

An inquiry led by civil servant Sue Gray looks into claims of Christmas parties at No.10 in December 2020, following revelations published in the press in the run up to Christmas 2021.

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Pressure was on Mr Johnson when an email from one of his top staffers invited more than 100 people to a garden party at No.10 Downing Street on 20 May 2020, which he attended.

The leaked email from principal private secretary to the prime minister Martin Reynolds invited staff to "socially distanced drinks" and encouraged those attending to "bring your own booze".

Around 30-40 people are understood to have attended the 20 May party, including Mr Johnson and wife Carrie, when the nation was asked to adhere to strict lockdown rules.

Mr Johnson’s tenure as prime minister has been questioned as a result and pressure has only intensified following the publication of Ms Gray’s report. Here are the top five Tories tipped to succeed Mr Johnson when the time comes…

Who could be the next prime minister?

If Boris Johnson does step down then there is no shortage of people in the running for the top job, including Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

Mr Sunak, currently the chancellor of the exchequer, has won many admirers from inside the Conservative party with how he has handled the pandemic spending.

Next UK prime minister odds. (Graphic: Mark Hall)

Covid support schemes such as furlough and cuts to business rates during uncertain financial times for many have also increased Mr Sunak’s stock among some quarters of the public.

Though 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.

It’s not uncommon for ministers to make the step from chancellor to prime minister.

Mr Sunak is the clear favourite among online bookies to replace Mr Johnson when the time comes, followed by Ms Truss, who is the current 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, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab, have all been mentioned, though Mr Sunak appears to have the edge.

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.

A lot of that will depend on the strength of feeling within the Tory party as well as how they are being perceived in the polls, and if it would be favourable 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, and they lead the latest YouGov poll with 37%.

The Conservative party are at 33%, with the Liberal Democrats holding 10%, Green Party 6%, SNP 5% and Reform UK 5% of the poll.

Next UK prime minister odds

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is the frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister should he decide to resign. Here are the latest from oddschecker:

  • Rishi Sunak 9/4
  • Liz Truss 38/5
  • Keir Starmer 8/1
  • Jeremy Hunt 19/2
  • Michael Gove 28/1

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