Who’s going to replace Theresa May?
With Theresa May stepping down on the 7th June, the Conservative Party leadership race is on; but who will take the top spot and try and lead the UK out of the EU? We’ve outlined a few of the candidates who could be in the running to be the next British Prime Minister, and the odds, as reported by opinion and data company YouGov, for their chances of success.
Boris is perhaps the frontrunner to replace Theresa May. He resigned from his Cabinet post last year as a sign of protest against May’s Brexit decisions and has frequently given his opinions in the Daily Telegraph. However, it’s impossible to forget the work he did in the Brexit referendum, and this week a London court said Boris’ behaviour and claims that the UK sent £350m a week to the EU was ‘irresponsible and dishonest’. He’s one of the best-known Conservative politicians, and he voted against Theresa May’s deal in the first two votes, but reluctantly backed it on the third. YouGov reports that 70% of Tories believe Boris could win a general election.
A politician that’s spent less time in the limelight than Boris, Dominic Raab became Brexit Secretary in the summer of 2018. His time in this role was short-lived, and he resigned in November, saying he couldn’t ‘in good conscience’ support Theresa May’s deal. Since then, he’s been focused on planning his vision for the UK should he be able to claim the leadership role. His focus is to boost opportunity in the UK; he recently wrote in the Telegraph: ‘Brexit presents challenges. But it is also an opportunity to take a fresh look at our society.’
A few years ago, Michael Gove drew attention to himself when he scuppered Boris Johnson’s plans to become the leader of the Conservative Party, and instead attempted his own rise to the top spot. Gove has proved himself to be a long-time supporter of Brexit, and while he may garner a split opinion from the public, he’s been supportive of Theresa May during her leadership. He’s recently been addressing green issues.
Jeremy Hunt is currently Foreign Secretary, following a role as Health Secretary where he was the longest-serving person to remain in the position. He campaigned for the UK to stay in the European Union but has attempted to help May navigate the UK out of the EU since he replaced Boris.
Penny Mordaunt took over from Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary and supported the Leave campaign. One of her main insistences is that UK officials should be accountable for British foreign aid spending. She's also said the government could utilise savings for ‘other domestic priorities’, like the NHS.
Andrea Leadsom had attempted to win the Tory top spot before when David Cameron stepped down following the referendum result. However, she withdrew from the leadership race and has been supportive of May and holds a pro-Brexit stance.
After Amber Rudd’s resignation, Sajid Javid has had the opportunity to step up as Home Secretary. He backed Remain in the 2016 referendum but has been supportive of the government’s bid to pull the UK out of the EU and has become pro-Brexit himself. He’s ensured he stands independently from Theresa May in his role as Home Secretary.
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart backed Remain in the referendum and attempted to support Theresa May’s Brexit deal. However, while polls have shown he’s likeable, not many Conservatives believe he would be able to get the job as Prime Minister.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd is a firm Remainer and has threatened to resign should the UK decide to leave the EU without a deal. Because of her pro-remain beliefs, she’s perhaps less likely to be successful in this leadership race.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is known for his enthusiasm in technology and even created his own app to update followers on his activities. However, Hancock would likely have a lot to prove in order to win a bid as Conservative Party leader.
What are the odds?
YouGov’s recent research suggests that out of the candidates, Boris Johnson is likely to be the preferred choice, and not just by a small margin either. Raab is the second most likely winner, with Michael Gove coming in third. Sajid Javid and Andrea Leadsom tie for the fourth spot, followed by Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Matt Hancock, and then Rory Stewart.
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