Tory leadership race: nine potential candidates for prime minister

Theresa May will fire the starting gun on a Tory leadership race when she announces her departure as Prime Minister.

Several potential candidates have already set out their stalls in previous weeks as Mrs May’s tenure hung by a thread.

Here are nine of the MPs who have suggested, or stated, they will stand for the job.

– Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock has hinted he is interested in the job
Matt Hancock has hinted he is interested in the job (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Health Secretary, 40, has refused to rule himself out and said he has a “strong view about the sort of leader we need”.

A leader should put the Tories “four-square in the centre ground”, Mr Hancock believes.

– Esther McVey

Former cabinet minister Esther McVey is among the most pro-Brexit of the potential candidates
Former cabinet minister Esther McVey is among the most pro-Brexit of the potential candidates (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The former Work and Pensions Secretary said she believes the next leader should be someone who “believes in Brexit” as she hinted at a leadership bid.

Ms McVey, 51, who quit the Cabinet over Brexit in November, has said it is “essential” Britain leaves the EU by the end of October.

– Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid has gained support among some colleagues through his work as Home Secretary (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Home Secretary has said “there won’t be a shortage of candidates” and teased “you’ll just have to wait and see” whether he chooses to run.

But the 49-year-old is expected to be a popular candidate, with policies including his hard stance on the return of Shamima Begum, the former Bethnal Green schoolgirl who joined Islamic State, boosting his position among some colleagues.

– Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson
Probably the most recognisable of the bunch, Boris Johnson is the frontrunner (Gareth Harmer/National Lottery Community Fund/PA)

Former Foreign Secretary and London mayor Mr Johnson, 54, is considered by most as the favourite to win the leadership race.

He has already confirmed he will stand, telling a business event “of course I’m going to go for it”.

– Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd
The Work and Pensions Secretary is one of the most staunch Remainers expected to enter the race (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Work and Pensions Secretary, 55, has refused to rule out running and said she is “keeping the door slightly ajar” to the possibility.

Ms Rudd is one of the most senior Remain-supporting Tories, and has regained standing in the Government since resigning in April 2018 over the Windrush scandal.

– Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart
Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart is one of the lesser-known potential candidates (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The International Development Secretary, 46, began his leadership bid in an interview with The Spectator last month.

“If you want someone who really enjoys doing stuff and loves government and is really proud of the country and feel that’s their thing, I’m really enthusiastic,” he said.

– Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom has described the UK’s continued membership of the EU as ‘disgusting’ (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Ms Leadsom, 56, has previously revealed that she was “seriously considering” running for the Conservative leadership.

The Leader of the Commons described the UK’s continued membership of the EU as “disgusting” and claimed that a Eurosceptic prime minister would have delivered Brexit already.

– Jeremy Hunt

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made subtle hints at a leadership bid
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made subtle hints at a leadership bid (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Foreign Secretary, 52, identifies as a one-nation conservative, campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum and would be a moderate candidate on Brexit in the leadership election.

– Liz Truss

Watch my new video about reviving the British dream of home ownership #homesweethome🏠👇 pic.twitter.com/6kBxDXBKoO

— Liz Truss (@trussliz) May 20, 2019

Ms Truss, 43, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is among a few Tory MPs to have used social media to hint at a possible leadership bid.

She has said the Conservative party needs to “reinvent” itself.

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