Brexit chaos: Who could replace Theresa May the upcoming Tory leadership race?

Posted On: 
10th December 2018

Theresa May has finally announced her resignation date. With a Conservative leadership race set to officialy begin, PolHome brings you the runners and riders.

Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid and Penny Mordaunt are all thought to be lining themselves up for a crack at the Tory leadership
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BORIS JOHNSON 

Darling of the Tory grassroots who has coveted the leadership since the day he was born. The only truly household name in Tory ranks but a Marmite figure with the public - especially since the EU referendum. Johnson has courted controversy throughout his political career. Lowlights include discussing a plan to have a tabloid journalist beaten up, alleged sexual indiscretions and putting jailed mother Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe at risk by giving MPs false information about her trip to Iran. Virtually guaranteed to win if he makes it onto the ballot paper, but will his internal enemies succeed in preventing him making it to the final two?

 

RORY STEWART

The newly appointed International Development Secretary raised eyebrows when he unexpectedly announced he would be standing to replace the Prime Minister while she was still in the job. Stewart is well respected among colleagues as a wise figure with a cool head. His backstory includes a 6,000-mile walk across Afghanistan and time as a diplomat in the Middle East. Stewart promised to resign as prisons minister if the violence behind bars did not improve within a year - but was promoted to the Cabinet before having to honour his commitment. A lucky escape.

 

ESTHER MCVEY 

The former Work and Pensions Secretary is another member of the club of pre-declared leadership candidates. She said she would stand if the call came from collegues, and it appears that call did come long before Theresa May stepped down. McVey has been positioning herself as a "blue collar" candidate and has won the support of prominent backbenchers Scott Mann and Ben Bradley. She is set to embark on a countryside pub tour of the UK to woo party members, which sounds like the kind of holiday Nigel Farage dreams about. McVey can burnish her pro-Brexit credentials as one of the early Cabinet ministers to resign over the Withdrawal Agreement.

 

DOMINIC RAAB 

Karate black belt Brexiteer who was said to eat the same lunch every day from Pret A Manger (chicken caesar and bacon baguette with a superfruit pot and a vitamin volcano smoothie). Former lawyer who worked to bring war criminals to justice before becoming chief of staff to then-Shadow Home Secretary David Davis. He also served in the same role for arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve when he was Shadow Justice Secretary. Very well known for: Admitting he “hadn’t quite understood” how vital the Dover-Calais border crossing was for UK trade. Middle name: Rennie.

 

SAJID JAVID

Said to have approached colleagues directly about launching a leadership bid the moment the Prime Minister stands down or is forced from office. Backed Remain at the last minute despite previous euroscepticism, but is said to be assuring pro-Brexit colleagues he could deliver a managed no-deal departure from the EU. Would be the first non-white Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party. Famously, the Bromsgrove MP's dad was a bus driver, and recently revealed he was bullied at school because he is Muslim. Borrowed £500 from a bank at the age of 14 to buy shares, further burnishing his Tory credentials.

 

JEREMY HUNT

Distant relation of the Queen and Oswald Mosley who speaks fluent Japanese and earned a cool £14m when he sold his share of an education company in 2017. Was head boy at Charterhouse School and an Oxford contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Hunt was a strong Remain voice during the 2016 EU referendum but has since been reborn as a Brexiteer (nothing to do with the anti-EU Tory membership, of course). Best known for: A marathon scrap with junior doctors during his six years as Health Secretary - a point Labour would no doubt ram home if he leads the Tories into an election.

 

ANDREA LEADSOM

The former Commons Leader stood aside in 2016 to hand Theresa May the Tory crown and has no doubt been regretting it ever since. Famed for cooking themed instagram game, Leadsom is said to be fun in private despite her steely public approach. Critics argue she quit the Cabinet at the last moment before the jig was up for Theresa May in a desperate act of self preservation. Leadsom is well respected across the House for bringing in new procedures for workplace bullying and harassment in parliament.

 

AMBER RUDD 

Theresa May loyalist who will cover you in a TV debate if you ask nicely. Had to row back in the early days of her tenure as Home Secretary on plans to force companies to disclose the number of foreign workers they employ. Eventually lost her job over the Windrush scandal after telling MPs the Home Office did not have deportation targets - even though it did. Was later reappointed to Cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary after a review found the mistake was down to civil service failings. One small downside: she has a majority of 346 in her Hastings constituency so could well lose her seat at the next election without a bit of CCHQ musical chairs. Also a strong Remainer - which Tory members might not be too happy about.

 

PENNY MORDAUNT

Royal Navy reservist who was handed a loaded Glock pistol to protect herself during an official trip to Somalia. Caught out after going on a Twitter following frenzy of local Tory associations earlier this month, increasing suspicions that she is paving the way for a leadership bid. Demanded a free vote for MPs on the Brexit deal about 100 times before failing and deciding to stay in Cabinet anyway. Staunch Brexiteer who faced a tough childhood when her mother died of cancer and her father was diagnosed with the same illness the following year. Mordaunt worked as a magician's assistant in Portsmouth to pay her way through sixth form college. Worked briefly as head of foreign press for George W Bush's presidential campaign. Best known for: That belly flop in ITV diving competition Splash.

 

MICHAEL GOVE

Leading Brexiteer who stabbed Boris Johnson in the back during the previous Tory leadership race after saying he had no desire to be PM. Refused to rule out running again on the Today programme earlier this week. Almost resigned from Cabinet over the Brexit deal, and also turned down the chance to replace Raab as Brexit Secretary. Willingness to back the PM may work against him.

 

LIZ TRUSS

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury may be a laugh a minute but does she have what it takes to run the country? Her Instagram activity has won her plaudits in Westminster - but after a shaky period as Justice Secretary the judiciary might not be so eager. 

 

GRAHAM BRADY

The chair of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers who was the first to be told the news by Theresa May that she would quit on 7 June. Brady has been at the forefront of the leadership turmoil over recent months, collecting letters of no-confidence in the PM and running the subsequent vote. This is a man who understands the parliamentary party through and through.

 

DAVID DAVIS 

Worryingly relaxed and paperless ex-Brexit Secretary who thinks the UK could leave the EU without a deal then negotiate a deal during the transition period... which would not exist without a deal.

 

PRITI PATEL

Sacked from the Cabinet after holding secret meetings with Israeli government figures during a holiday. Enjoyed one of the most closely-tracked flights of 2017.

 

STEVE BAKER

The self-styled 'hard man of Brexit' has revealed he is mulling a pop at the top job, and swivel-eyed ally Mark Francois has suggested he will back him. Baker is seen as having pulled many a string in the Brexit rebellions against Theresa May - so might struggle to expect loyalty from his troops. 

 

JUSTINE GREENING 

Told Theresa May to shove it when the PM tried to move her out of Education and into Work and Pensions after rows over grammar schools. Announced she was in a same-sex relationship during the EU referendum by saying: "I campaigned for Stronger In but sometimes you're better off out!"

 

JAMES CLEVERLY

Straight-talking Tory deputy chairman who told our sister title the House Magazine outright last year: "I’d love to be Prime Minister."