Who could replace Boris Johnson? All the frontrunners likely to replace the Prime Minister

·6-min read
Who could replace Boris Johnson? All the frontrunners likely to replace the Prime Minister

It’s been a rocky few weeks in UK politics, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreeing to step down from his role by autumn 2022.

Mr Johnson will remain as the country’s leader until a replacement Tory party leader is appointed, with several ministers kicking off their leadership campaigns.

There is a string of candidates who are in the running for becoming the next prime minister.

Here’s everything you need to know about the leader’s potential replacements.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson - In pictures

Who could replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson now that he has resigned?

There are several candidates who are believed to be potential replacements for Boris Johnson, now that the prime minister has decided to step down and resign from his role.

Kemi Badenoch

Kemi Badenoch is currently minister for local government, faith and communities at the Department of Levelling Up and Tory MP for Saffron Walden.

She has previously been in hot water over her comments about transgender people, with a leaked recording obtained by Vice World News from 2018 revealing her saying: “OK well we’ve got gay marriage, and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looking for?”

When she was equalities minister in 2021, Badenoch was also slated for her comments in leaked WhatsApp messages about colonialism, obtained by Vice World News again, in which she reportedly wrote: “I don’t care about colonialism because I know what we were doing before colonialism got there. They came in and just made a different bunch of winners and losers.”

However, Badenoch has now confirmed her candidacy in The Times and was even backed Michael Gove on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

He described her as “brave, principled, brilliant and kind”.

Suella Braverman

As attorney general for England and Wales, Suella Braverman has put her hat in the ring for a chance to become the UK’s next prime minister.

Suella Braverman has launched her leadership campaign (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Suella Braverman has launched her leadership campaign (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

She declared her intentions on live TV, but was soon mocked by Labour MP Emily Thornberry.

Her questionable views include having “significant reservations” about the UK’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights, following the grounding of the Rwanda asylum seekers’ flight in June, 2022.

She has also said that schools should not have to accommodate transgender pupils or use the names that trans students may opt for.

Grant Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has voiced his intentions to join the race and become the next prime minister.

He claims to promise to rebuild the economy so it is the biggest in Europe by 2050, while also addressing the cost-of-living crisis.

Other promises from the Tory MP include producing an emergency budget and slashing personal tax for the most vulnerable.

Despite many people from Boris Johnson’s party voicing their lack of belief in the PM, Shapps continues to support the Tory party leader.

He recently said: “I have not spent the last few turbulent years plotting or briefing against the Prime Minister. I have not been mobilising a leadership campaign behind his back. I tell you this: for all his flaws – and who is not flawed? – I like Boris Johnson. I have never, for a moment, doubted his love of this country.”

Liz Truss

On Sunday, July 10, 2022, Secretary of State Liz Truss published an op-ed disclosing her intentions to become the next Tory party leader and prime minister.

She said: “I am putting myself forward because I can lead, deliver and make the tough decisions. I have a clear vision of where we need to be, and the experience and resolve to get us there.”

The politician, who had an affair a married MP, has previously been in the running for the role with former Prime Minister David Cameron saying: “She is an excellent candidate and I very much hope she will be the candidate.”

Tom Tugendhat

Having wasted no time in sharing his intentions to become prime minister, Tom Tugendhat launched his campaign to replace Boris Johnson just 24 hours after the PM said he would be stepping down.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the chair of the Common Foreign Affairs Committee said: “I am putting together a broad coalition of colleagues that will bring new energy and ideas to government and, finally, to bridge the Brexit divide that has dominated our recent history.

“I have served before – in the military, and now in parliament. Now I hope to answer the call once again as prime minister. It’s time for a clean start. It’s time for renewal.”

Jeremy Hunt

The former foreign secretary and ex-health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was already a runner-up to Boris Johnson in the 2019 leadership bid.

He is already a favourite with bookmakers and had called on the prime minister to resign from his role.

Currently the chairman of the Commons Health Committee, he has been heavily involved with the government’s handling of the pandemic despite criticism of his abilities when he was health secretary.

Sajid Javid

Having resigned from his role on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, former health secretary Sajid Javid has already been in the running for becoming the Tory leader.

In 2019, he was among the final four candidates to replace Theresa May, but eventually dropped out and backed Boris Johnson.

The MP comes from humble beginnings as the son of a bus driver who moved to England from Pakistan in the 1960s. He has worked his way up in politics, having held roles in housing, business and culture before becoming chancellor, and later replacing Matt Hancock in the midst of the pandemic.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak is in the running for becoming Prime Minister (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak is in the running for becoming Prime Minister (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

Like Sajid Javid, Rishi Sunak has also resigned from his role as chancellor after ‘concerns about leadership’.

The minister headed up the furlough scheme following thousands of Brits struggling amid the Covid outbreak in 2020, but faced major backlash for cutting the Universal Credit uptick the government introduced during the pandemic.

He has also been slated after disclosures about his wife’s non-dom status for tax purposes and his slow and concerning approach to the cost of living crisis, which has plunged people across the UK into poverty in 2022.

However, the former chancellor is still a firm favourite among bookies to replace Boris Johnson.

Penny Mordaunt

Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt was fired by Boris Johnson when he became Prime Minister, but she is now a frontrunner for replacing the Conservative party leader.

She played a significant role in the Vote Leave Brexit campaign in 2016 and is also a Royal Navy reservist, along with being the current trade minister.

You may have also spotted her on Tom Daley’s diving TV show, Splash.

Ben Wallace

Despite backing Boris Johnson repeatedly, defence secretary Ben Wallace is also a frontrunner for the role of Prime Minister.

He is popular within the Tory party for his straight-talking and has consistently backed an increase in the UK’s defence spending.

However, the politician has announced that he will not be standing, tweeting: “After careful consideration and discussing with colleagues and family, I have taken the decision not to enter the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party.

“I am very grateful to all my parliamentary colleagues and wider members who have pledged support.”

He has been another key voice in the UK’s response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Nadhim Zahawi

Former education secretary Nadhim Zahawi was recently appointed the new chancellor, on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, replacing Rishi Sunak.

He rose to prominence as the vaccines minister during the pandemic and was praised for the speedy rollout of the Covid jab.

Having fled the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Zahawi moved to the UK when he was nine years old.