Who are the runners and riders to replace Boris Johnson as PM?

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the candidates to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the candidates to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced that he will step down as prime minister.

PA have reported that Mr Johnson has spoken to Tory 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady and agreed to stand down, with a new Tory leader set to be in place by the party conference in October.

Now the race is on to see who will replace him - here are some of the potential frontrunners to replace Mr Johnson.

Jeremy Hunt

File photo dated 20/07/19 of Jeremy Hunt, who has said people criticising Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

The former foreign secretary and ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt - Credit: PA

The former foreign secretary and ex-health secretary has been a persistent backbench critic of Mr Johnson and has long called on the prime minister to quit.

Mr Hunt is widely expected to make a fresh bid for the leadership if there is a contest, having been runner-up to Mr Johnson in 2019, and is among the early favourites with bookmakers.

As chairman of the Commons Health Committee, he has used his position to make a number of critical interventions on the government’s handling of the pandemic, although his strong support for lockdown measures will not have pleased all Tory MPs.

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Sajid Javid

Health Secretary Sajid Javid arriving at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, where he announced a

Former health secretary Sajid Javid is another likely candidate who could replace Boris Johnson - Credit: PA

Mr Javid’s resignation on Tuesday caused chaos in Number 10, and triggered the events which eventually led to the prime minister's downfall.

State school-educated Mr Javid – known as “The Saj” in some circles – is the son of a bus driver who arrived in England from Pakistan in the 1960s.

The MP has held ministerial roles in housing, business and culture before becoming chancellor, and then health secretary in the middle of the pandemic.

Mr Javid made it to the final four in the contest to replace Theresa May as Tory leader in 2019, but dropped out and subsequently endorsed Mr Johnson.

Penny Mordaunt

File photo dated 12/03/20 of Penny Mordaunt, who has said, Britain is expected to sign its first eco

Penny Mordaunt, minister of state for the department for international trade - Credit: PA

Another frontrunner with the bookies, Ms Mordaunt made waves in 2019 as the UK’s first female defence secretary before being fired by Mr Johnson shortly after he became PM.

Ms Mordaunt has many strings to her bow – she is a Royal Navy reservist and a former reality television contestant, having appeared on the Tom Daley-fronted diving show Splash.

She played a prominent role in the Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Rishi Sunak

EMBARGOED TO 2200 TUESDAY JUNE 7 File photo dated 23/03/22 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Suna

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak is in the running to become the next prime minister - Credit: PA

The former chancellor’s rise from relative obscurity to household name came as he turned on the spending taps to protect jobs through the furlough scheme when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

His calm and measured delivery during televised Covid briefings, and his viral declaration of love for a popular soft drink, will have endeared him to those perhaps not always plugged in to the political goings-on.

But his stock took a tumble more recently following disclosures that his wife had 'non-dom' status for tax purposes, and accusations that he was too slow to respond to the cost of living crisis.

Tom Tugendhat

File photo dated 13/06/2019 of Tom Tugendhat, the ex-soldier and Foreign Affairs Select Committee ch

Tom Tugendhat, Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman, is another likely candidate - Credit: PA

The polyglot chairman of the foreign affairs committee became the first to announce his intention to stand for leader should Mr Johnson be turfed out – with his declaration made in January.

A Remainer in 2016, the former soldier has been a trenchant critic of the prime minister – a stance that would appear to have cost him any chance of ministerial preferment under Mr Johnson.

He recently sought to distance himself from a call by his fellow Remainer, defence committee chairman Tobias Ellwood, for the UK to rejoin the EU single market.

Liz Truss

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaving Millbank Studios in London. Picture date: Wednesday May 18, 2022

Foreign Secretary and MP for South West Norfolk Liz Truss. - Credit: PA

The foreign secretary has made little secret of her leadership ambitions, with a series of high-profile interventions and photo opportunities in which she appeared to be channelling late PM Margaret Thatcher.

Her hard line on Ukraine, insisting Russian forces must be driven from the country, and threats to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU, play well with sections of the party.

Away from politics, Ms Truss’s flair for social media has seen her offer an insight into life outside of Westminster by updating her Instagram account with pictures of her relaxing at the beach, or behind the scenes at official events, though her passions combined to bizarre effect in 2014 when her improbably enthusiastic speech about opening pork markets in Beijing went viral.

Ben Wallace

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace speaks during the Defence of Europe conference at King's College Lond

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace - Credit: PA

The defence secretary has won admirers in Westminster for his straight-talking and straightforward approach, particularly among Tory MPs who pressed for the UK to increase its defence spending, although cuts to the size of the Army remain a cause for concern.

Mr Wallace, who served in the Scots Guards, remains a key voice in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and this increased exposure could assist any leadership bid.

He has consistently supported Mr Johnson, but has pressed the case for increased defence spending.

Nadhim Zahawi

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi poses for a photograph outside the HM Treasury in Westminster, following hi

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi outside the HM Treasury in Westminster, following his appointment after Rishi Sunak resigned from the post on Tuesday - Credit: PA

Previously regarded by some as a “safe pair of hands” if other candidates prove too divisive, he has had a tumultuous few days, having been appointed chancellor to replace the resigning Rishi Sunak, before going on to call for Mr Johnson to stand down.

A successful businessman, Mr Zahawi came to wider prominence as vaccines minister during the pandemic and was credited with playing a key part in the successful rollout of the jab.

Born in Iraq to a Kurdish family, he came to the UK as a nine-year-old when his parents fled the regime of Saddam Hussein.