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LONDON: Who could replace Boris Johnson as Britain’s prime minister? Below is a summary of those who have announced they want the job and others who could be in the frame. The race follows Johnson’s announcement on Thursday he was resigning, bowing to calls from ministerial colleagues and lawmakers in his Conservative Party.

There is no clear favourite and they are not listed in order of likely prospects. The rules of the leadership contest will be announced next week.

Boris Johnson quits as UK prime minister, dragged down by scandals

Confirmed as in the contest:

Rishi Sunak

Sunak announced his leadership bid on Friday with a campaign video in which he promised to confront the difficult economic backdrop with “honesty, seriousness and determination”, rather than piling the burden on future generations.

“Someone has to grip this moment and make the right decisions,” he said.

Sunak was made finance minister in early 2020, and was praised for a COVID-19 economic rescue package, including a costly jobs retention programme that averted mass unemployment.

But he later faced criticism for not giving enough cost-of-living support to households. Revelations this year about his wealthy wife’s non-domiciled tax status and a fine he received for breaking COVID lockdown rules have damaged his standing.

His tax-and-spend budget last year put Britain on course for its biggest tax burden since the 1950s, undermining his claims to favour lower taxes.

What next for UK economy as Boris Johnson quits?

Sunak voted to leave the EU in 2016.

Tom Tugendhat

The chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and a former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He has been a regular critic of Johnson and would offer his party a clean break with previous governments.

However, he is relatively untested because he has never served in cabinet.

The many scandals of Boris Johnson’s premiership

He voted to remain in the EU.

Suella Braverman

As attorney general, Braverman was heavily criticised by lawyers after the government sought to break international law over post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.

She campaigned to leave the EU and served as a junior minister in the Brexit department under Theresa May, but resigned in protest at the then prime minister’s proposed Brexit deal, saying it did not go far enough in breaking ties with the bloc.

Kemi Badenoch

Elected to parliament for the first time in 2017, Badenoch has held junior ministerial jobs, including most recently minister for equalities, but has never served in cabinet.

A former Conservative member of the London Assembly, she has also served as vice-chair of the Conserative Party. She supported Brexit in 2016.

Russia rejoices over Boris Johnson’s downfall: the ‘stupid clown’ has gone

Other possible candidates:

Liz Truss

The foreign secretary has been the darling of the Conservative Party’s grassroots and has regularly topped polls of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home.

Truss has a carefully cultivated public image and was photographed in a tank last year, echoing a famous 1986 photo of Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Truss, 46, initially campaigned against Brexit but after the 2016 referendum said she had changed her mind.

She spent the first two years of Johnson’s premiership as international trade secretary and was last year appointed as Britain’s lead negotiator with the European Union.

Truss is now in charge of dealing with the EU over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, where she has taken an increasingly tough line in negotiations.

On Tuesday she said Johnson had her “100% backing” and urged colleagues to support him. On Thursday after the prime minister bowed to growing pressure, she said Johnson had made the right decision to step down.

The many scandals of Boris Johnson’s premiership

Jeremy Hunt

The former foreign secretary, 55, finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest. He would offer a more serious and less controversial style of leadership after the turmoil of Johnson’s premiership.

Over the last two years, Hunt has used his experience as a former health secretary to chair parliament’s health select committee and has not been tarnished by having served in the current government.

Earlier this year, he said his ambition to become prime minister “hasn’t completely vanished”. Hunt said he voted to oust Johnson in a confidence vote last month that the prime minister narrowly won.

Hunt supported remaining in the EU ahead of the 2016 vote. It is unclear whether he would feel the need to maintain a tough line against Brussels, to win the support of Conservative voters, or whether he could pursue a more pragmatic relationship to improve post-Brexit trade.

Sajid Javid

Javid was the first cabinet minister to resign in protest over accusations that Johnson misled the public over what he knew about sexual harassment allegations against a Conservative lawmaker.

A former banker and a champion of free markets, Javid has served in a number of cabinet roles, most recently as health minister. He resigned as Johnson’s finance minister in 2020.

The son of Pakistani Muslim immigrant parents, he is a Thatcher admirer and finished fourth in the 2019 leadership contest to replace former Prime Minister Theresa May.

Javid supported remaining in the EU “with a heavy heart and no enthusiasm”, saying he feared the fallout from a leave vote would add to economic turbulence.

Nadhim Zahawi

The newly appointed finance minister impressed as vaccines minister when Britain had one of the world’s fastest rollouts of COVID shots.

Zahawi’s personal story as a former refugee from Iraq who came to Britain as a child sets him apart from other contenders.

He co-founded polling company YouGov before entering parliament in 2010. His last job was as education secretary. Zahawi said last week it would be a “privilege” to be prime minister at some stage.

He supported leaving the EU.

Penny Mordaunt

The former defence secretary was sacked by Johnson when he became prime minister after she endorsed his rival, Hunt, during the last leadership contest.

Mordaunt was a passionate supporter of leaving the European Union and made national headlines by taking part in a now-defunct reality TV diving show.

Currently a junior trade minister, Mordaunt called the COVID lockdown-breaking parties in government “shameful”. She had previously expressed loyalty to Johnson.

Mordaunt campaigned to leave the EU in 2016.


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