24 May 19
TORY big beasts led by Boris Johnson started the scramble to succeed Theresa May just hours after she quit in tears.
More than a dozen MPs are likely to stand and two of the front-runners entered the race almost immediately.
Tory big beasts led by Boris Johnson started the scramble to succeed Theresa May just hours after she quit in tears.
Theresa May is left in tears as she admits it’s all over for her tenure as PM hoping to deliver Brexit
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt became the first to say he was running. Then, odds-on favourite BoJo told a conference in Switzerland: “Of course, I will be running for Prime Minister.”
The most unexpected candidate is likely to be Sir Graham Brady, who stood down as chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs to consider a tilt at the top job.
But in a sign it will be a bitterly divisive contest, Brexiteers were warned not to make unrealistic promises they could not keep.
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood told them: “If the Brexit experience to date has taught us anything, it’s to avoid making promises and drawing red lines you may later regret or cannot honour. Trust in our party is low. The Parliamentary maths have not changed.”
The contest officially begins when Mrs May goes on June 7.
Brexit-backing Mr Johnson is the bookies’ favourite and is popular with Tory activists.
But he has less support among MPs, who will whittle down the list to two — to be voted for by the party’s members.
Mr Johnson made it clear his campaign would focus on securing Brexit by the Halloween deadline set by EU leaders.
Boris Johnson said today that he would prepare for No Deal
Jeremy Hunt became the first Cabinet minister today to confirm he would run to be Tory leader
A quick guide to those who’ve officially come out to declare they’re in the running for Mrs May’s soon to be vacant job
He vowed: “We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. The job of our next leader in the UK, he or she, is to get out of the EU properly and put Brexit to bed.”
Others ready to run include Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who teed up his candidacy at a Lords bash on Wednesday.
One onlooker told The Sun: “People listening were left certain he was going to run for Prime Minister.” Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab received an early boost when Tory party vice-chair Helen Grant quit her job to campaign for him.
It’s all behind her as Mrs May retreats to No10 after delivering her resignation speech
The next incumbent will find this to-do list stuck to the No10 fridge
She said: “Dominic Raab has an inspiring vision for a fairer Britain.”
Other Cabinet ministers expected to stand — including Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove — kept their powder dry yesterday and just paid tribute to outgoing Mrs May.
Mr Gove did receive early support from backbencher Bob Seely, who tweeted that he would “lead and renew” while delivering Brexit.
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart made no announcement — but has already made his intentions clear.
In an interview, he promised to tackle everyday injustices by scrapping hospital parking charges, keeping Post Offices afloat and improving rural broadband.
Backbencher Sir Graham has spent much of the year dealing with irate colleagues who wanted rid of Mrs May.
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As he unexpectedly quit his 1922 committee role, he said: “I’ve been approached by a number of colleagues across the party both inside and outside Parliament asking me to put myself forward as a candidate.”
“Therefore I have taken the decision to stand down to ensure a fair and transparent election process.”
Another outsider, self-styled Brexit hardman Steve Baker, revealed he might stand. He said: “Some colleagues have said I should consider it.”
This how the process of selecting the new leader will proceed
THE BIG BEASTS
BORIS JOHNSON, 54
Loved by Tory activists but distrusted by many Conservative MPs
PROS: THE Godfather of Brexit is a Tory activists’ favourite. A proven winner, he twice became mayor in London, a Labour stronghold.
Seen as the only Tory who can stave off the threat posed by Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party.
CONS: DISTRUSTED by many MPs who are not taken in by his charm. Disorganised and often not bothered to grasp the detail of issues. Tangled private life, with two broken marriages and multiple mistresses, could deter older activists.
DOMINIC RAAB, 45
Prepared to back no deal will see him court the party activists, but can be gaffe-prone
PROS: VOCAL Brexit backer prepared to leave Brussels with no deal — a move popular with Tory activists.
Wants 5p Income Tax cut and, as a lawyer experienced with EU legislation, has the expertise to take on Brussels in fresh negotiations.
CONS: FROSTY. Likened by critics to a James Bond baddie and will bomb with swing voters. Unwillingness to compromise on Brexit could put off moderates. Gaffe-prone. Confessed he did not know Dover-Calais crossing’s importance to trade.
MICHAEL GOVE, 51
An ideas man, but his ‘knifing’ of Boris during the previous leadership contest won’t be forgotten
PROS: AN ideas man who ushered in blitz on plastics and rolled out free schools. Adopted and raised in humble background in Aberdeen.
Rabble-rousing speaker on Brexit. Seen by some Scottish Tories as the last hope for the Union.
CONS: SEEN as disloyal after knifing Boris Johnson at the last leadership contest. Hated by teachers during his time as Education Secretary. Geeky and lacking common touch. Once admitted: “Whatever charisma is, I don’t have it.”
JEREMY HUNT, 52
Jeremy Hunt a Remainer who now claims to be a Leaver – and not popular among doctors in his current day job as Health Secretary
PROS: PLENTY of Cabinet experience. Longest serving Health Secretary before moving to Foreign Office.
A Remainer who says he would now vote Brexit, he is seen as a unifier in a divided party. Clever and confident public speaker.
CONS: SEEN as smooth PR man, his brand of politics risks bombing with voters seeking authenticity
Knifed Theresa May by telling her to drop her Brexit Bill a day before she quit. Very unpopular with doctors as Health Secretary.
SAJID JAVID, 49
A bus driver’s son who has taken a stand against knife crime, but also seen as an operator who chases headlines rather than making his own
PROS: BUS driver’s son who became a multi-millionaire banker. Buttressed law and order credentials by reviving stop and search and promising cash to tackle knife crime.
A born-again Brexiteer, he is very popular among activists.
CONS: WEAK speaker who often stumbles over his words at big events.
Seen as intellectual lightweight who chases headlines rather than devising his own agenda. Twice caught out on foreign holidays while his department was in crisis.
MATT HANCOCK, 40
Digital fan-boy and youngest Cabinet Minister at just 40, but his Remainer stance is unlikely to work in his favour
PROS: ENTHUSIASTIC and fizzing with ideas, he is viewed as the leading candidate of the Tory modernisers.
Digital superfan with eye-catching ideas such as his own app. Youngest in Cabinet at 40. Would help overhaul party’s tired image.
CONS: HAS served only a short stint as a senior Cabinet minister.
As a Remainer, he will struggle to win over the overwhelmingly Brexit-backing activists. Has yet to make a mark as a reformer with his vision for a domestic agenda.
AND THE OUTSIDERS
Quit this week and finally got her revenge after losing out in a previous leadership battle with Mrs May
A LEADING Brexiteer, her leadership chances were boosted this week after she quit as Commons leader in protest at the PM’s botched Brexit compromise.
Interesting life story will intrigue many
AID Secretary and ex- tutor to Princes Harry and William. Trekked 6,000 miles through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Brad Pitt bought movie rights to his life story.
Grassroots following will help
EX-magician’s assistant, newly-promoted Defence Secretary has long association with Armed Forces, and backing Brexit means big grassroots following.
SIR GRAHAM BRADY
Will the kingmaker be king?
BOSS of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, which was instrumental in forcing Theresa May to leave No10, is now eyeing up the leadership himself.
Brexit hardman is how Mr Baker styles himself
SELF-styled hardman of Brexit, the shop steward of Tories’ European Research Group came out of left field to suggest he might throw his hat into the ring.
Heading to the pub to launch her leadership campaign
FORMER GMTV host resigned as work and pensions minister over May’s handling of Brexit. Will launch leadership bid with a tour of pubs across the UK.
Wafer thin majority in constituency and Remainer stance unlikely to help boost chances
PRO-REMAIN Cabinet minister may attract party moderates, but her wafer-thin majority and lack of backing among Tory activists makes her unlikely candidate.
Could attract Eurosceptics
ARDENT Brexiteer who flew back from Africa to be sacked by Theresa May for holding secret meetings with Israeli politicians. Could attract Eurosceptics.
Thatcherite and Brexiteer
A MODERN Thatcherite and Brexiteer who is renowned for her love of fashion as much as her passion for a small state and low taxes.
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