The five Conservatives vying to become Britain's next PM

Brexit campaigner and former London mayor Boris Johnson waves after a press conference in central London on June 30.
Brexit campaigner and former London mayor Boris Johnson waves after a press conference in central London on June 30. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Mr Boris Johnson's surprising announcement that he would not seek the leadership of Britain's Conservative Party - and by extension, succeed Mr David Cameron as PM - leaves five candidates for the job.

Home Secretary Theresa May, 59

The daughter of a vicar studied geography at University of Oxford. Began her career at the Bank of England, and then worked at the Association for Payment Clearing Service. Elected to Parliament in 1997. She was the party's chairman from 2002 to 2003.

Policies: Advocated remaining in the European Union, but said on Thursday that "Brexit means Brexit" and pledged to negotiate a "sensible and orderly" departure. Regarded as a hardliner on immigration, national security and social policy.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove, 48

Born in Edinburgh, the son of a fish-processing worker. Graduated from Oxford University. Worked as a journalist before he was elected to Parliament in 2005, and was education secretary from 2010 to 2014.

Policies: He was a leader of the campaign to leave the EU. As education secretary, he advocated more study of the classics of British literature in schools.

Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Andrea Leadsom, 53

Born in Buckinghamshire, northwest of London, and studied political science at Warwick University. Worked in banking and finance for 25 years. Elected to Parliament in 2010.

Policies: Rose to prominence as a leading Brexit advocate. Champion of austerity measures.

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, 43

Raised in a public housing in Wales. Studied politics at the University of Bristol and received an MBA from London Business School. He was a marketing consultant, among other things. Elected to Parliament in 2005, and was secretary of state for Wales from 2014 to 2016.

Policies: Called for welfare recipients to change their behaviour as the key to ending dependence on public benefits. Also opposed legalisation of gay marriage.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox, 54

Born in Scotland. Worked as a general practitioner. Elected to Parliament in 1992. Co-chairman of the Conservative Party from 2003 to 2005. Unsuccessfully challenged Mr Cameron for leadership of the party in 2005. Resigned as defence secretary in 2011 after a scandal over his personal and professional relationship with a close friend.

Policies: As defence secretary, he oversaw budget cuts to the military, opposed intervention in Syria. Believes that Nato is the cornerstone of Britain's national security.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline 'The five Conservatives vying to become Britain's next PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe