Many senior members of the Conservative Party have long been preparing a bid to assume the mantle of British Prime Minister ahead of Theresa May’s long-awaited departure, but who are the current Tory frontrunners?
Amid a backdrop of repeated failures to secure a Brexit deal that could satisfy both the House of Commons and EU negotiators in Brussels, senior Conservatives wasted no time in stepping forward both before and after Theresa May’s Friday announcement that she would step down as Prime Minister on June 7. Here are some of her likely successors.
Former Foreign Secretary and London Mayor Boris Johnson, 54, is the current favourite for the job, having been a key Leave figure throughout the 2016 the Brexit referendum campaign.
Shortly after Theresa May’s resignation announcement on Friday, he stated that he would “of course” run for the position.
Unlike Johnson, the 52-year-old sitting Foreign Secretary campaigned for the Remain side during the Brexit referendum, identifying as a one-nation conservative much like the outgoing Theresa May.
Hunt announced his bid for the Tory leadership to his local paper shortly after Theresa May’s morning announcement that she would be stepping down.
Leadsom, 56, the former Leader of the House of Commons, has previously hinted at a run for the leadership of her party and again made her intentions clear on Wednesday with a vehement denouncement of May’s latest Brexit offer. She dubbed the deal “dangerously divisive,” before resigning from her position in disagreement.
Rudd has been more skittish about announcing her intentions to run for the leadership position, stating only that she was “keeping the door slightly ajar.“
Like Hunt, she is among the most senior Remain-supporting Tories likely to run for party leadership, despite resigning from the government in April 2018 over the Windrush scandal.
She already has history with the EU leadership which may preclude her from succeeding where May failed when it comes to securing a divorce deal.
The 49-year-old British Home Secretary is expected to be popular choice among more hardline Conservatives given his hard-line stance against “ISIS bride” Shamima Begum.
With speculation saying he was preparing a bid for the Tory leadership stretching as far back as December 2018, if successful, Javid would be the UK’s first non-white prime minister.
Gove, 51, has been a vocal supporter of Theresa May’s deal which may not bode well for his bid to assume the leadership role given how spectacularly the recent incarnations of the proposed Brexit deal have failed.
A prominent Leave campaigner, Gove has yet to publicly declare his intentions but is expected to throw his hat in the ring. He backed Johnson’s 2016 leadership bid before eventually changing his mind.
Raab, 45, is intimately familiar with the frustrated Brexit process having resigned in dismay as Brexit Secretary after only a few months when he refused to accept the terms of May’s proposed deal.
He is a hard Brexiteer who would likely back a ‘no deal’ Brexit should negotiations fail. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis called Raab “the best-placed Brexit candidate to win the necessary support among MPs and party members.”
He did, however, once state that staying in the EU would be preferable to Theresa May’s proposed deals, which may not enamor him to hardline Conservatives.
Lidington, 62, also known as ‘Mr. Europe’ is another conservative remain voter who is seen by many as May’s natural successor. Having served as Europe minister from 2010 to 2016, he has the background and experience to tackle the issue which has deeply divided his party.
But his stark pro-EU stance and closeness to May might just as easily disqualify him from the position in the eyes of his colleagues.
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