Boris Johnson confidence vote: Runners and riders for Conservative leadership if Johnson loses

Boris Johnson will face a confidence vote later today, which will see the Conservatives thrown into a leadership election if he loses.

Here are the contenders that could be set to replace him as party leader.

Jeremy Hunt:

Former Health Secretary Mr Hunt is among the bookies favourites for the top job should Mr Johnson be ousted, and having come runner up in the 2019 contest.

File photo dated 29/10/2019 of the front door of number 10 Downing Street in LondonFile photo dated 29/10/2019 of the front door of number 10 Downing Street in London
File photo dated 29/10/2019 of the front door of number 10 Downing Street in London
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The Chairman of the Health select committee has said he will be “voting for change” in the ballot this evening.

He has made 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.

Liz Truss:

Foreign Secretay Ms Truss is popular with grassroots party members, having taken a hard line on both the war in Ukraine and over the Northern Ireland protocol.

She 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 Margaret Thatcher.

Rishi Sunak:

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Yorkshire MP and Chancellor Mr Sunak was long-seen as the front-runner to succeed Mr Johnson in Downing Street, having soared in the popularity rankings during the pandemic.

However, he has fallen down the tables in recent months as the cost of living crisis has bitten and questions have been raised over his family’s finances.

His supporters will hope that a recent multi-billion intervention may have increased his stock among the party membership.

Tom Tugendhat:

The 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 having been made in January.

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

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.

Nadhim Zahawi:

The Education Secretary is seen by some as a “safe pair of hands” if other candidates such as Ms Truss prove too divisive.

A successful businessman, he 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.

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