Who could replace Boris Johnson as Britain's prime minister?

There is no clear favourite to succeed Mr Johnson, whose days as British prime minister look numbered. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce his resignation on Thursday (July 7), British media reported.

The news came after he was abandoned by newly appointed ministers and more than 50 others in a rebellion that had left the government dangerously close to paralysis.

All eyes are now on his likely successor. While several names have been suggested, there is no clear favourite.

Rishi Sunak


Britain's first Hindu chancellor of the exchequer, who quit from his finance minister post on Tuesday (July 5), was until recently the bookmakers' favourite.

But his prospects were dented by questions over his private wealth and family's tax arrangements.

His resignation has seen him return as one of the bookies' front runners for the top job.

Mr Sunak, 42, has a high profile on social media, and won plaudits for shoring up the economy during the pandemic.

But his refusal initially to authorise more support over a surging cost-of-living crisis has hurt his popularity.

Jeremy Hunt


Former foreign and health secretary Jeremy Hunt, 55, lost to Mr Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest, when he branded himself as the "serious" alternative.

Mr Hunt sent a thinly veiled campaign message for a new leadership bid last month, arguing that under Mr Johnson, "we are no longer trusted by the electorate" and "we are set to lose the next general election".

But the fluent Japanese speaker lacks Mr Johnson's charisma. His pre-pandemic record as health secretary was recently savaged by a Mr Johnson ally.

Liz Truss


Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, 46, is popular among Conservative party members, liked for her outspokenness and willingness to go on the political attack.

But that has also stoked questions about her judgment, for instance when in February she encouraged Britons to fight in Ukraine. Critics say her leadership posturing is too overt.

When she headed the Department for International Trade, some MPs dubbed it the "Department for Instagramming Truss" because of her prolific output on the social media site.

Sajid Javid


Mr Javid, who also quit as health secretary on Tuesday, had previously resigned as finance minister in 2020.

The 52 year old is the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver who went on to become a high-flying banker.

Like Mr Sunak, he also faces questions about his personal wealth and tax affairs.

Ben Wallace


The Defence Secretary, 52, has narrowly topped some recent polls of Tory grassroots' preferred next leader due to his role in the Ukraine crisis.

The former army officer and Johnson ally has downplayed wanting to lead the party but is seen as straight-talking and competent.

Nadhim Zahawi


Newly appointed as Finance Minister, Mr Zahawi, 55, was praised for overseeing Britain's pandemic vaccines rollout.

Before that he was education secretary.

Mr Zahawi is a former refugee from Iraq who came to Britain as a child speaking no English. Before entering politics, he co-founded the prominent polling company YouGov.

But his private wealth has also drawn adverse attention, including when he claimed parliamentary expenses for heating his horse stables.

Tom Tugendhat


The former army officer, 49, is a prominent backbencher who chairs Parliament's influential Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr Tugendhat has indicated he will stand in any leadership contest but there is no love lost between him and Johnson loyalists.

A hawk on China, he has been critical of the government's handling of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Penny Mordaunt


Ms Mordaunt, 49, is the first woman to have been UK defence secretary and is currently a junior trade minister.

The Royal navy reservist is seen as likely to run but considered a long shot.

A strong Brexit supporter and key figure in the 2016 "Leave" campaign, she has been tipped as a potential unity candidate who could draw support from the Conservative party's warring factions.

Dominic Raab


Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Raab, 48, led the country when Mr Johnson was in intensive care in hospital with Covid-19 in 2020.

The former lawyer and karate black belt is seen as a reliable ally.

But his move to justice from the post of foreign secretary was seen as a demotion after he initially failed to cut short a holiday as the Afghan capital Kabul fell to the Taliban last year.

Suella Braverman


The Attorney-General for England and Wales said she intended to stand in a leadership contest, saying that "it would be the greatest honour".

She was heavily criticised by lawyers during her tenure after the government sought to break international law over post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.

Ms Braverman studied law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and gained a Masters in Law from the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne. 

Called to the Bar in 2005, Ms Braverman specialised in public law and judicial review.

She has defended the Home Office in immigration cases, the Parole Board in challenges by prisoners and the Ministry of Defence in matters relating to injuries sustained in battle.

She was appointed Attorney-General on Feb 13, 2020. Ms Braverman was previously parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Exiting the European Union from January to November 2018. 

She was elected as the Conservative MP for Fareham in May 2015. 

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