Mon, 30 January 2023

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Who Replaces Liz Truss? Here Are The Leading Runners And Riders

Who Replaces Liz Truss? Here Are The Leading Runners And Riders

The race has already started to replace Liz Truss (Alamy)

4 min read

Tory leadership hopefuls have just a week to win support from their party following the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss. But who could win the race to become the UK's next Prime Minister?

Rishi Sunak

The former chancellor and runner up to Liz Truss in the leadership election this summer, Rishi Sunak is likely to be among the favourites to replace her in Downing Street.

Sunak served in Boris Johnson’s government for more than two years, overseeing the Treasury’s response to the Covid pandemic, however his resignation in July led some among the party membership to believe that he had played a significant part in Johnson’s downfall.

Sunak won every round of voting among Conservative MPs in the summer’s leadership election, and the main point of opposition between the final two candidates came down to their economic policies.

He warned Truss that her plans amounted to “fairytale” economics, while he promised to only implement tax cuts when inflation was back under control.

Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt, who came third in the summer’s leadership election, is widely tipped to throw her hat into the ring once again.

The MP for Portsmouth North was a popular choice among parliamentary colleagues and was only narrowly beaten on to the final ballot. Mordaunt received 105 votes in the fifth round of MP votes, compared to Truss’s 113 and Rishi Sunak’s 137. Mordaunt went on to declare her support for Truss.

A former International Development Secretary and Defence Secretary, Mordaunt was chosen by Truss as Leader of the House of Commons, and was sent to Parliament on behalf of the prime minister earlier this week to answer an urgent question about the sacking of former chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng.

During the outing she denied that Truss was hiding “under a desk” as opposition MPs asked where the Prime Minister was.  

Boris Johnson

Having resigned just three months ago, there are reports that Boris Johnson is considering a bid to return as Prime Minister.

The former PM, who is currently on holiday in the Caribbean is still popular with some sections of the party, with several MPs already taking to the airwaves to voice their support for a Bring Back Boris campaign.

It would be an extraordinary return for a politician who was forced to resign after a wave of scandals and the collapse of support among his top team.

A bid from Johnson would undoutedly lead to splits among MPs, but would be overshadowed by the ongoing Commons investigation into whether he misled Parliament.

And while Johnson still retains very strong support among grassroots Conservative members, it would be a controversial choice for MPs to select Johnson after repeated calls for stability after the chaos of recent months.

But Johnson's own resignation comments seemed to suggest he was not finished at the top level of British politics, telling MPs it was "mission accomplished – for now", signing off with "Hasta la vista, baby".

Boris Johnson resigning as Prime Minister

Suella Braverman

Having been the first out the gates during the summer leadership contest, Braverman is widely expected to throw her hat into the ring for a second time.

But it could be a difficult start for Braverman who was forced to resign as Home Secretary on Wednesday after sharing official documents through her private email.

In her resignation statement, Braverman was scathing about Truss's leadership, suggesting they had strong disagreements on the government's policy direction.

While popular on the right-wing of the party following her pledge to crack down on immigration and "woke nonsense", Braverman would likely struggle to unite MPs across the party.

Kemi Badenoch

Kemi Badenoch stood in the Conservative leadership race in the summer and came in fourth place behind Mordaunt, Sunak and Truss.

She was popular among members and MPs on the right of the party, and was little known outside of political circles before the July contest.

Appointed as Secretary of State for International Trade by Liz Truss, the MP for Saffron Walden  did not endorse another candidate in the election after she was eliminated on July 19.

Among her supporters in the leadership election were former Cabinet minister Michael Gove.


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