Narasi.net — British Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday (7/7) local time. He said he would remain as prime minister while the party chooses a new leader.
Given that the Conservative Party won the last election by a landslide, the country does not need to hold new elections. Instead, next week, a small group of Conservative legislators in Parliament – known as the 1922 Committee – will determine the rules for electing a new leadership that will help choose Johnson’s successor from the roughly 350 or so Conservative MPs.
Under Britain’s parliamentary system, the winner of the Conservative Party election will then become Britain’s new prime minister.
Here are some of those who could – based on popularity, experience or expression of interest – compete to become the UK’s next prime minister:
– Rishi Sunak
Since 2020, Sunak, who has served as Minister of Finance, resigned from his position on Tuesday (5/7) evening local time. His resignation was followed later by the resignation of other British officials, eventually forcing Johnson to announce he would be stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party.
A former investment banker, Sunak was first elected to parliament in 2015. His popularity with the British public as a top cabinet member soared during the coronavirus pandemic, when the finance ministry announced a series of policies that provided financial support for many citizens.
He was also the favorite to replace Johnson, but controversy over his rich wife’s tax affairs and criminal fines for violating lockdown rules tarnished her reputation as a competent candidate.
– Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid, who served as Minister of Health, also resigned along with Rishi Sunak. A trader at investment bank Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank, Javid was elected to Parliament in 2010.
In 2019, after previous British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation, Javid competed with Johnson, but later backed him for Conservative leadership.
This week he publicly criticized Johnson’s leadership in Parliament, in a speech that many saw as a clear starting weapon for a new leadership bid.
– Ben Wallace
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is one of the longest serving MPs to be considered the front-runner for PM. A former soldier elected to Parliament in 2005, he has been praised for his role as Britain’s defense secretary in supporting Ukraine’s military efforts to counter this year’s Russian invasion.
He has so far declined to say whether he will participate in the Conservative Party leadership election, but is often seen as the leading candidate in polls conducted with grassroots Conservative Party supporters and activists.
– Suella Braverman
As the current attorney general, Braverman previously worked as a lawyer, focusing on a variety of topics including immigration and environmental law, and representing various government departments during courtroom proceedings.
The second-generation immigrant woman earned a reputation as a Brexit hardliner when she stepped down from the role and has repeatedly voted in Parliament against the Brexit deal former PM Theresa May is trying to strike with the European Union.
During a televised appearance Wednesday evening, he was the first minister to publicly insist that Johnson should resign. He also said he plans to run for leader of the Conservative Party in the upcoming election.
– Jeremy Hunt
The former secretary of state came second as the Conservative Party’s nominee for prime minister in 2018. He has offered a more serious and less controversial style of leadership after Johnson’s turmoil. Hunt said he voted to oust Johnson in a no-confidence vote last month which Johnson won. Hunt supports Britain staying in the European Union ahead of the 2016 vote.
The former head of the Health and Social Welfare committee recently published a book on patient safety in the UK’s National Health Service. According to his broad support among his Conservative peers, Hunt is seen by many as a potentially safe candidate for the party and the country.