David Cameron has announced he will stand down as Prime Minister by October. With the countdown to find his replacement beginning, here are a few potential contenders to the role of leader of the Conservative party and potentially our next Prime Minister:
The former London mayor is one of the frontrunners to succeed his Old Etonian school chum at No 10. Johnson previously insisted he had less chance of taking the top job than being “reincarnated as an olive”, but his protestations have done little to disguise his ambitions.At the weekend he summoned friendly Tory MPs to his Oxfordshire home most probably in preparation for a stab at the top job. After leading the Brexiteers to victory, his stock among Conservative grassroots Eurosceptics will be higher than ever, but history has shown that Tory leadership contests have a habit of failing to return a dead certain result. Ex-minister Alan Duncan said that despite Johnson’s “excitement and notoriety”, many activists did not want a “permanent ride on the big dipper”.
Hanging on to the Home Secretary job for six years, a position that is notorious for ruining political careers, shows May’s durability. Although she was a Remain supporter, she disappeared off the radar during the campaign, leaving her relatively unscathed.May is reported to not be a huge fan of Cameron, and in her time as Home Secretary she has been quietly courting party members in readiness for his departure. She has also been tipped as the most popular candidate among Conservative voters in a YouGov poll. Some MPs – including Iain Duncan Smith – have publicly urged MPs not to consider candidates who did not support Brexit in the referendum campaign. International Development Secretary Justine Greening has appealed to May and Johnson to form a “united leadership” to help bring the country back together.
The Health Secretary recently said his current brief would be his “last big job in politics”, but has now revealed he is “seriously considering” a bid for the Conservative leadership. A Remain supporter, he has called for the public to be given a say on Britain’s terms for leaving the European Union.Although he faced a bumpy ride over his handling of News Corporation’s takeover bid for BSkyB when culture secretary, and has since come under significant fire for changes to the NHS and medical students, he seems to have managed to see out the turbulence.
The Justice Secretary has seen his public profile increase over the last few weeks and, bar the occasional sticky moment, he is generally regarded to have had a good campaign.The bookies’ odds on Gove have fallen, however, as his once-close friendship with Cameron has come under strain in recent months. Despite this, though, many believe he is likely to seek a more influential role - potentially under a Johnson-led administration - possibly as deputy prime minister leading the negotiations over the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Work and Pensions Secretary is hugely popular in the Conservative parliamentary party and comes from the sort of ordinary background that chimes with many voters. The former Welsh secretary says the party should be led by someone “who understands the enormity of the situation we’re in and who has got a clear plan to deliver on the expectations of the 17 million people who voted to come out last week”, including keeping the United Kingdom together.One thing that could thwart Crabb's chances is the fact the sudden contest may have come a little too soon for him to make much headway, even as a unity candidate.
The son of a Pakistani bus driver who went on to become a managing director at Deutsche Bank, the Business Secretary – and the first Asian male in a Tory cabinet – has long been talked of as a future leader. His chances may be hampered, however, by claims by former colleagues that he backed Remain while privately supporting Brexit. His handling of the Tata Steel crisis also drew criticism.He says the “party has lots of talents” on both sides of the argument and he is “not going to guess” who will be in the running. There have been reports that Javid could stand on a joint ticket as potential chancellor with Crabb.
The Education Secretary has not ruled out a run, saying that she wanted there to be a woman in the final two candidates in the running for leader of the Conservative party.“If that is me or someone else it is too early to tell. I would think about it but it is about what other colleagues are looking for in the next leader”, she said. Morgan also said she would represent a moderate continuation of the Cameron legacy, but her support for Remain may count against her.
The Scottish Conservative leader has impressed many with her performance during the campaign and electoral success north of the border last month. But a Westminster seat would need to be found for her to have a viable shot at the top job. Ms Davidson has also suggested such a move is not for her, describing life at No 10 as lonely.
The former defence secretary – who unsuccessfully sought the top job in 2005 – was the first to confirm he was considering a fresh bid. An outspoken supporter of Brexit, he would hope to win over the right of the party.
An assured performance by the energy minister for the Leave campaign has sparked talk of the former banker and fund manager seeking the top job. She has declined to rule it out, revealing she was “looking at all sorts of angles and considering”.
Another to have dramatically increased their public profile through a prominent place in the successful push to get Britain out of the EU, the employment minister is also tipped as a potential contender. Controversially, she is a supporter of the restoration of capital punishment for the most serious crimes.