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Who could replace Boris Johnson as prime minister?

With Boris Johnson under increasing pressure to resign over Partygate, we take a look at who could become the next prime minister.

number 10, downing street party

Boris Johnson at a 2017 speech. Image: Chatham House/Flickr

Amid the seemingly never-ending Partygate scandals of No.10, many are calling for Boris Johnson’s resignation over his attendance at a boozy Downing Street BBQ he supposedly believed was a “work event.”

As most of the country sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation of civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry findings, we can’t help but wonder, who could be next?

In no particular order, here are the Tory MPs we believe could be potential front runners in a hypothetical leadership race.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak. Image: Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0)

The chancellor of the exchequer is the bookies’ current favourite to snap-up Boris Johnson’s job, should the PM offer up his resignation. According to YouGov, the MP for Richmond (Yorks) is the most popular Conservative in the country, with a nothing-to-write-home-about approval rating of 33 per cent.

Brexiteer Sunak has reportedly stayed well-clear of Downing Street parties. Sorry – ‘work events’.

Liz Truss

Liz Truss. Image licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Despite a not-great approval rating of 18 per cent, the foreign secretary and MP for South West Norfolk has been given a 3/1 chance of leadership success, according to bookmakers. YouGov has labelled this ex-remainer as the 13th most popular Tory MP in the country, unlucky for some you may say.

Michael Gove

Michael Gove. Image: Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0)

Like Truss, Michael Gove’s YouGov approval rating comes in at a measly 18 per cent, trailing back as only the 15th most popular Conservative in the country. Despite sitting in the house of commons for Surrey Heath since 2005 and putting himself forward for the last Tory leadership contest, Gove missed out in 2019.

The housing secretary was formerly a journalist for The Times and surprised David Cameron in the EU Referendum by backing the leave campaign.

Sajid Javid 

Sajid Javid. Image: UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0)

Bookies don’t have high hopes for the health secretary’s potential leadership, giving him just a 14/1 chance of being the next PM. Javid has been MP for Bromsgrove for little over a decade following a previous career in investment banking.

Despite being the country’s 8th most popular Conservative MP, with a approval rating of 20 per cent, as COVID’s latest poster-boy, Javid is unlikely to be top-dog for leadership in the eyes of the public.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt. Image: Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0)

Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, missed out on the prime ministerial role back in 2019 during the leadership election. Failing to compete with Boris Johnson’s 66 per cent of the vote, Hunt now resides as chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Despite his more relatively minor role, Hunt is perceived by bookmakers as having a 8/1 chance of finally securing leadership of the Conservative party. However, still miles behind Sunak, Hunt is YouGov’s 12th most popular Tory, with an approval rating of 18 per cent. Welcome to the 18 club Jeremy.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel. Image: Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0)

Divisive though she may be, Priti Patel has power within the Conservative party in her role as home secretary. However, despite her prestige within hard-right Conservative factions, with an approval rating of just 17 per cent according to YouGov, Patel is unlikely to reach the very top of the political ladder anytime soon.

Patel, who was elected as MP for Witham in 2010, is the least popular Tory in this list, marked as the 19th most popular Conservative in the country.

Whilst Rishi Sunak seems to be first in line should a race for Conservative leadership begin again, only time will tell whether Boris Johnson’s prime ministerial role will be up for grabs.

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