Next Prime Minister odds: Theresa May vows to quit – but who could replace her?

The Prime Minister today said she will step down from her post before the next phase of Brexit talks. 

Theresa May‘s decision to tell the 1922 Committee that she “won’t stand in the way” of new leadership prompted leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg to say: “The great joy of the Tory Party is it has so many talented people in it. 

“It’s like finding a fast bowler in Yorkshire. You just call and one appears.”

These are the key names currently being floated to take the helm if Mrs May steps down.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove (REUTERS)

Michael Gove

The Environment Secretary had a bruising experience in the last Tory leadership race but he is now seen as the favourite at 7-2 – according to William Hill – to replace Mrs May, largely due to his Brexiteer credentials.

In June 2016, Mr Gove, who was campaign manager for Boris Johnson’s drive to succeed David Cameron, withdrew his support on the morning Mr Johnson was due to declare and threw his own hat in the ring instead.

He came third in the first round of voting, trailing behind ultimate winner Mrs May and Andrea Leadsom.

Mr Gove, 51, was born in Edinburgh, studied English at Oxford and was a journalist before becoming an MP. He is married to Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine.

Despite speculation he could take the job, he told reporters on Sunday it was “not the time to change the captain of the ship”.

Mrs May’s de facto deputy David Lidington (EPA)

David Lidington

Mrs May’s de facto deputy is seen by some as the natural caretaker prime minister but he has been clear he does not want the job.

“One thing that working closely with the Prime Minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task,” he said on Sunday.

William Hill are offering odds of 6-1 for him to become Number 10’s next occupant.

The 62-year-old has been the MP for Aylesbury since 1992 and was minister of state for Europe from 2010 to 2016. He is married with four children.

Boris Johnson arrives at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (PA)

Boris Johnson

Prominent Brexiteer and former foreign secretary Mr Johnson has been a leading voice of opposition to Mrs May’s Brexit plan.

The Old Etonian was one of the key players in the 2017 Leave campaign and resigned from the Cabinet following the Chequers summit in July.

He was heavily tipped as a successor to Mr Cameron but ruled himself out of the 2016 leadership contest after Mr Gove made a last-minute bid for the top job.

Odds of him taking the helm have come in at 6-1, according to William Hill, but he is likely to have the backing of many pro-Leave members of the party.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (EPA)

Jeremy Hunt

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with odds of 10-1 at William Hill, was a prominent Remainer in the 2016 referendum.

As health secretary, Mr Hunt fought a long battle with doctors over a new contract.

The 52-year-old, who was first elected as MP for South West Surrey in 2005, was appointed Foreign Secretary in July following the resignation of Mr Johnson.

He chose not to run in the 2016 leadership contest and instead gave his full support to Mrs May, saying it was “not the right time” to put his hat in the ring.

Mr Hunt made a public shift towards Euroscepticism after the referendum, which could win him allies in the Leave camp if he ran for the top job.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab (REUTERS)

Dominic Raab

With odds at 12-1, Mr Raab is an outlier to take over from the Prime Minister but is thought to harbour ambitions for the role.

Mr Raab, a prominent Brexiteer in the referendum campaign, was appointed as Brexit secretary in July but resigned from the role in November, saying he could not support Mrs May’s eventual deal.

In his resignation letter on November 15, he wrote: “Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction. I am only sorry, in good conscience, that I cannot.”

Mr Raab, 44, has been the MP for Esher and Walton since he was elected in 2010.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid (Getty Images)

Sajid Javid

The Home Secretary, with odds of 12-1 at Betfair, has previously signalled his leadership ambitions. 

He did not stand in the 2016 leadership race but has since emerged as one of the favourites in Westminster to succeed Mrs May.

Javid, 49, who backed Remain in the referendum but has since positioned himself as a firm Leaver, became the first home secretary from an ethnic minority background when he was appointed in April 2018.

The son of a Pakistani bus driver from Rochdale, he was managing director at Deutsche Bank before becoming an MP in 2010. He is married with four children.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd, with odds of 49-1 at Betfair, made a return to the Cabinet in November as work and pensions secretary following the resignation of Esther McVey. 

The MP for Hastings and Rye had to resign from her post as Home Secretary earlier this year over the Windrush scandal. 

She was a prominent Remain campaigner. 

She could win support from pro-EU MPs in the party, but she struggled to retain her seat at the 2017 election and has one of the smallest majorities in parliament.


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