Here’s who could replace Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister


Boris Johnson was due to resign as Britain’s prime minister on Thursday, ending a turbulent two-and-a-half years in office and sparking a search for a new leader.

Below is a rundown of some of the ones that could be in the box to replace it. However, there is no clear favorite and they are not listed in order of likely prospects.


The foreign secretary is the favorite among the rank and file of the ruling Conservative Party and has regularly topped polls of party members conducted by the Conservative Home website.

Truss has a carefully cultivated public image and was photographed in a tank last year, echoing a famous 1986 photo of Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Johnson, 46, spent the first two years of Johnson’s presidency as international trade secretary, championing Brexit, and last year was appointed as Britain’s chief negotiator with the European Union.

Truss said Monday that Johnson had his “100% support” and urged his colleagues to support him.


The 55-year-old former foreign secretary finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest. He would offer a more serious and less controversial leadership style after the turmoil of Johnson’s premiership.

Over the past two years, Hunt has used his experience as a former health secretary to chair parliament’s health select committee and has not been tarnished by having served in the current government.

Earlier this year, he said his ambition to become prime minister “hasn’t completely faded.” Hunt said he voted to oust Johnson in a confidence vote last month that the prime minister narrowly won.


Defense Minister Ben Wallace, 52, has in recent months become the most popular member of the government among Conservative Party members, according to Conservative Home, thanks to his handling of the Ukraine crisis.

A former soldier, he was mentioned in dispatches in 1992 for an incident in which the patrol he commanded captured an Irish Republican Army guerrilla unit suspected of trying to carry out a bomb attack on British troops.

He began his political career as a Delegate Member of the Scottish Assembly in May 1999, before being first elected to the Westminster Parliament in 2005.

He was security minister from 2016 until he took up his current role three years later, winning applause when his department evacuated British citizens and allies from Afghanistan last year and for sending weapons to Kyiv.

Rishi Sunak

Sunak, who resigned as finance minister on Tuesday saying the British public “rightly expects government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously,” was until last year the favorite to succeed Johnson.

He was praised for a COVID-19 economic rescue package, including a costly job retention program that averted mass unemployment.

But Sunak later faced criticism for not giving enough cost-of-living support to households. Revelations about the non-domiciled tax status of his wealthy wife and a fine he received, along with Johnson, for violating COVID lockdown rules have damaged his position.

His tax and spending budget last year put Britain on track for its biggest tax burden since the 1950s, undermining his claims to favor lower taxes.


Javid was the first cabinet minister to resign in protest over allegations that Johnson misled the public about what he knew about sexual harassment allegations against a Conservative lawmaker.

A former banker and champion of free markets, Javid has held various cabinet posts, most recently as health minister. He resigned as Johnson’s finance minister in 2020.

The son of Pakistani Muslim immigrant parents, he is a Thatcher admirer and finished fourth in the 2019 leadership contest to replace former UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Nadhim Zahawi

The newly appointed finance minister impressed as vaccines minister when Britain had one of the world’s fastest COVID injection rollouts.

Zahawi’s personal story as a former refugee from Iraq who came to Britain as a child sets him apart from other contenders.

He co-founded the YouGov polling company before entering parliament in 2010. His last job was as education secretary. Zahawi said last week that it would be a “privilege” to be prime minister at some point.

bitchy penny

Johnson sacked the former defense secretary when she became prime minister after she backed rival Hunt during the last leadership contest.

Mordaunt was a passionate supporter of leaving the European Union and made national headlines by participating in a now-defunct diving reality show.

Mordaunt, now a junior trade minister, called the government lockdown-breaking parties “shameful.” He had previously expressed his loyalty to Johnson.


The chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and a former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, has already indicated he would run for any leadership competition.

He has been a regular critic of Johnson and would offer his party a complete break with previous governments.

However, he is relatively untested because he has never served in the cabinet.


Braverman, the attorney general who backs Brexit, has indicated he will run for the leadership. She was heavily criticized by lawyers during her tenure after the government tried to breach international law on post-Brexit business rules in Northern Ireland.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Michael Holden, Jon Boyle, Catherine Evans, and Mark Heinrich)

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