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Who could replace Boris Johnson as the UK Prime Minister?

The PM announced that he was stepping down on Thursday and he will be replaced by another MP from his own party after a leadership contest has taken place.

Who are the favourites to replace Boris Johnson?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday that he would be stepping down after losing the support of a number of key allies in government and the resignations of 59 of his own MPs.

It has been a chastening few months for Johnson whose government has been mired in a procession of scandals and accusations of dishonesty. In his speech, delivered in front of No. 10 Downing Street, Johnson confirmed that he would leave the post but said that a timeframe for his departure would only be announced in the coming days.

In the UK, prime ministers who step down usually remain in office until a replacement is selected. There will not be a general election. Instead, his own Conservative Party will hold an internal selection process to determine his replacement as both party leader and Prime Minister.

Who are the favourites to be the next UK Prime Minister?

The next Prime Minister must come from the 365 Conservative MPs currently sitting in the House of Commons, and will be selected in a two-stage election process. Firstly, all members who put there name forward will be the subject of a series of votes from the parliamentary party to whittle them down to two candidates.

The final two will then be put to the wider Tory party membership, which totals roughly 200,000 paying members. The winner of this vote will become party leader and, as they are the party in power, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Here are the current favourites to win out in the Conservative Party leadership contest…

Ben Wallace

The current defence secretary has been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite after a YouGov poll showed that he was the number one pick amongst Tory members. He has a relatively low public profile but the nature of the leadership contest means that is less of a factor, and he recently topped the ConservativeHome polls of members’ favourite cabinet ministers.

Rishi Sunak

At points in the past two years, Sunak has looked like a shoe-in to be a future Tory party leader but recent scandals have diminished his support. He was chancellor for much of the pandemic and implemented the popular furlough scheme, but received a police fine for his involvement in Partygate and was damaged by claims that his billionaire wife had claimed non-domicile status to save millions in taxes.

Sajid Javid

The downfall of Boris Johnson really began on Tuesday evening when Sajid Javid and Sunak announced their resignations from the government, and both are suspected to have ambitions for the top job. He has previously served as chancellor but his lacklustre showing when running for party leader in 2019 may suggest that he does not have the support required to triumph.

Penny Mordaunt

The former defence secretary was one of the early favourites to replace Johnson when his days appeared numbered earlier this week. She ranked second in the ConservativeHome poll and could be popular with many party members for her long-standing support of Brexit. However she did not resign from government in recent days when dozens of others did, meaning that she me be tarnished by the remnants of Johnson’s leadership.