Who could replace Boris Johnson?

0 22

Who could replace Boris Johnson?

After Boris Johnson's resignation as Conservative Party leader, there's a long list of potential successors. Some have ruled themselves in, but several have yet to announce potential candidacies.

The last time there was a Conservative leadership election, Boris Johnson was streets ahead as the favorite to succeed Theresa May from the very beginning. This time around, after Johnson's fall from grace, the field appears to be wide open. Here's a rundown of possible contenders so far.

Rishi Sunak

The 42-year-old former finance minister — whose resignation helped precipitate Johnson's demise — is considered to be among the front runners in the race to succeed his old boss.

Hours after Johnson said he would quit as leader, Sunak was said to have set up a leadership campaign office at a Westminster hotel.

The Times newspaper reported that he planned to pitch himself as the "serious candidate for a serious time."

Indeed, Sunak later announced that he would be running for party leader, saying "let's restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country," alongside a slick campaign video.

Born to Indian parents who moved to the UK from East Africa, Sunak attended the exclusive Winchester College private school and studied at Oxford. His elite education and work in investment banking could make him seem out of touch with ordinary voters.

He also faces pressure following revelations that his multi-millionaire wife avoided paying taxes on her overseas income. Like Johnson, Sunak was also fined by police for attending a lockdown-flouting birthday party.

Lis Truss

The 46-year-old has gained momentum among the Conservative Party faithful — some of whom see her as a latter-day Margaret Thatcher — and has made no secret of her ambitions.

Truss dashed back to London from a G20 foreign ministers' meeting in Bali immediately after Johnson's resignation, before the event had even begun.

She was initially a candidate in the 2019 Conservative leadership race to succeed Theresa May, but ultimately stepped aside to endorse Boris Johnson.

It's believed that has been carefully cultivating her leadership credentials since.

Truss took on the role as the UK's top diplomat in September after serving as trade minister. Although she campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU, Truss has become a champion of Brexit, having signed a string of post-Brexit trade deals in her former role.

Sajid Javid

The son of Pakistani immigrants, Javid was ahead of Sunak in declaring "enough is enough" and resigning from Johnson's Cabinet.

It wasn't the first time he had quit Johnson's government. He was Sunak's predecessor but left in early 2020 after clashing with the prime minister over the influence of his former adviser Dominic Cummings.

However, Javid had established a reputation for competence, and was brought back as health minister after a scandal involving the previous incumbent, Matt Hancock.

He faces the disadvantage of having campaigned for Remain in the Brexit referendum, with a largely euroskeptic Tory membership making the final decision for leader.

Javid has billed himself as a common-man alternative to his privately educated rivals, although he did have a lucrative investment banking career before politics.

Nadhim Zahawi

Born in Iraq to a Kurdish family, the 55-year-old finance minister could be seen as a safe pair of hands if the other candidates prove too divisive.

Zahawi gained plaudits as vaccine minister during the pandemic. He came to greater prominence Johnson appointed to head the UK treasury immediately after Sunak resigned.

Zahawi raised eyebrows just two days later, when he urged the prime minister to go. That, along with the departure of a newly appointed education minister, were seen as final tipping points that hastened Johnson's resignation.

According to The Times newspaper, Zahawi has been secretly working on a Conservative leadership campaign with allies of Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby.

Zahawi, who campaigned in favor of Brexit, was a co-founder of the market research firm YouGov and was elected to Parliament in 2010.

Jeremy Hunt

The 55-year-old, who lost heavily to Johnson in the last leadership election, has been quoted as saying his ambition to lead the country hasn't "completely vanished."

After the 2019 leadership contest, Johnson dumped former health secretary and foreign secretary Hunt from the Cabinet.

However, he kept himself in the public eye — grilling ministers and experts as head of Parliament's Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Having pitched himself against Johnson in the last showdown, and given that he campaigned against Brexit in 2016, Hunt attracts disdain from many who still have regard for the outgoing prime minister.

A recent poll of Conservative party members — who make the final choice of leader — found that he would lose against every other rival in a head-to-head contest.

Penny Mordaunt

The 49-year-old international trade minister has emerged as a surprise potential contender, with claims that she might garner support by saying she could help heal party divisions.

She gained a certain level of fame with the UK public in 2014 by taking part in a now-defunct UK reality television diving show "Splash!"

Mordaunt had a prominent role in the pro-Brexit campaign, although she backed Hunt in the 2019 leadership contest.

At the time, she served as defense minister, but she was removed from the post when Johnson became prime minister.

Since then, she made a return to government and enjoys considerable popularity among Conservative lawmakers who decide the early stages of the contest.

Ben Wallace

The 52-year-old would be the Conservative Party members' favorite to replace Johnson, according to a survey by opinion pollsters YouGov. That's despite him having voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Before Johnson announced he would quit as leader, Wallace said he would stay in his role leading the UK defense ministry to protect national security. However, he also called on the prime minister to resign.

Wallace has won plaudits after his department evacuated British nationals and allies from Afghanistan last year, and for his advocacy of sending weapons to Ukraine.

A former soldier, he was security minister from 2016 until taking on his current role three years later.

Scottish credentials — he has previously served as a member of the Scottish Parliament — could stand him in good stead with another independence referendum slated for 2023.

Suella Braverman

The relatively unknown lawyer is England's attorney general and was the first candidate to announce that she intended to run.

Given her profile — and the fact that she was still serving in Johnson's government at the time — the announcement came as a suprise to many and she would appear to be a relative outsider.

The 42-year-old said in a television interview that she wanted to run because she and her family, who emigrated to Britain from Kenya and Mauritius "owe a debt of gratitude to this country."

A keen supporter of Johnson for years, she said it was time for him to go as a cascade of ministers resigned.

Braverman was elected to Parliament in 2015 and campaigned in favor of Brexit.

Tom Tugendhat

The 48-year-old former soldier, who chairs the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, was the second candidate to officially throw his hat into the ring.

He wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that he was consulting a "broad coalition'' of colleagues to bridge political divides.

"I have served before — in the military, and now in Parliament. Now I hope to answer the call once again as prime minister. It's time for a clean start,'' he wrote.

Tugendhat has no ministerial experience, which in this case could be an advantage as some party members could see him as a good choice for a new start. He is also among a group of key Conservatives urging the UK to take a tougher stance on China.

However, as an opponent of Brexit, he would find it hard to find traction with those on the right of the party.

Who could replace Boris Johnson?

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.