UK Conservative candidates throw hats in ring to replace Johnson | Politics News

Nine members of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party have so far launched bids to replace Boris Johnson as the party head and next prime minister.

The latest announcements on Sunday come three days after Johnson said he would step down following the resignations of several ministers and other officials in his government in the wake of the latest scandal to mar his tenure.

Johnson said he would lead a caretaker government until his replacement is named and the timeline for that process would be announced soon.

The notoriously unpredictable exercise in standing as a candidate involves several rounds of voting by party members to choose the two top candidates, who will then be put forward on a postal ballot sent to the Conservative Party’s wider membership.

The winner of the postal ballot will become the party’s new leader and will have the option to call a snap election.

Some additional candidates, including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, are still expected to announce their bids while other would-be favourites, including Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, have already bowed out of the race.

Here are the nine candidates so far:

Rishi Sunak, former finance minister

Rishi Sunak, the former finance minister, was the second minister to resign in protest ahead of Johnson’s resignation [File: Daniel Leal/Reuters]

Sunak was the second minister to resign in protest over Johnson’s poor handling of sexual harassment allegations against Conservative legislator Christopher Pincher.

He launched his campaign on Friday, a day after Johnson’s resignation, and is considered an early favourite, but has faced criticism over his wife’s non-domiciled tax status.

In his campaign video, Sunak promised to confront Britain’s difficult economic backdrop with “honesty, seriousness and determination”.

Jeremy Hunt, trainer foreign secretary

jeremy hunt
Jeremy Hunt, Conservative Party leadership candidate, appears on BBC’s Sunday Morning program [BBC Handout via Reuters]

Hunt finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, and has said he would offer a more serious and less controversial style of leadership after the turmoil of Johnson’s premiership.

He has sought to differentiate himself as the only major candidate to date who did not serve in Johnson’s government.

Sajid Javid, former health minister

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid, Conservative Party leadership candidate, appears on BBC’s Sunday Morning program [BBC Handout via Reuters]

Javid was the first cabinet minister to resign in protest over accusations that Johnson misled the public regarding what he knew about sexual harassment allegations against Conservative legislator Christopher Pincher.

The son of Pakistani Muslim immigrant parents, Javid is a former banker and free-market proponent. He wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “The next Prime Minister needs integrity, experience, and a tax-cutting plan for economic growth. That’s why I’m standing.”

Penny Mordaunt, former UK defense secretary

Mordaunt
British MP Penny Mordaunt [File: Simon Dawson/Reuters]

Mordaunt has held several ministerial positions, including serving as defense secretary under the government of Prime Minister Theresa May.

The former Navy reservist announced her bid for the top job in a video on social media, saying “our leadership has to change. It needs to become a little less about the leader, a lot more about the ship”.

Grant Shapps, transportation secretary

Grant Shapps
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps leaves 10 Downing Street, in London [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

Shapps has served as secretary of state for transport since Johnson took office in 2019. He was first elected to parliament in 2005.

He has been a loyal defender of Johnson. He wrote on Twitter announcing his campaign: “I plan. I communicate. I campaign. I deliver. And I can win an election for our party in tough times”.

Nadhim Zahawi, finance minister

Nadhim Zahawi
British finance minister Nadhim Zahawi at Downing Street in London [File: Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

Zahawi was appointed finance minister last week following the resignation of Rishi Sunak. He most recently served as education minister,

A former refugee from Iraq and co-founder of the polling company YouGov before entering parliament in 2010, Zahawi has said he will run on a platform of lowering taxes for individuals, families and businesses.

Tom Tugendhat, chair of the UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee

Tom Tugendhat
Tom Tugendhat, Conservative Party leadership candidate in London [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]

Tugendhat is the chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee and a former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has never served in the cabinet and has been a regular critic of Johnson.

Writing on Twitter after announcing his campaign, he said: “Trust in our politics and our party is collapsing. We need a clean start”.

Kemi Badenoch, member of parliament

Badenoch was elected to parliament for the first time in 2017 and has held junior ministerial roles. She has never served in the cabinet.

Writing in The Times, she said: “Without change the Conservative Party, Britain, and the western world will continue to drift.”

Suella Braverman, member of parliament

braveman
British Attorney General Suella Braverman walks outside at Downing Street in London [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

As attorney general of England and Wales, Braverman was heavily criticized by lawyers after the government sought to break international law over post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.

A staunch Brexit supporter, she resigned in protest from her post as junior minister in the Brexit department under May, saying the former prime minister’s Brexit deal did not go far enough in breaking ties with Europe. Her campaign so far has focused on further breaking ties with European institutions, including the European Convention on Human Rights.

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