Nine members of the UK’s Conservative Party have so far launched bids to replace Boris Johnson as party leader and next prime minister.
Sunday’s latest announcements come three days after Johnson announced he would step down following the resignations of several ministers and other officials in his government over the latest scandal to mar his tenure.
Johnson said he would lead a caretaker government until his replacement is named and the timeline for that process is announced soon.
The notoriously unpredictable exercise of candidacy involves multiple rounds of voting by party members to choose the top two candidates, who will then be presented on a postal ballot sent to the full Conservative Party membership.
The winner of the postal ballot will become the new leader of the party and will have the opportunity to call an early election.
Some additional candidates, including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, are still expected to announce their candidacies while other potential candidates, including Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, have already withdrawn from the race.
Here are the nine candidates so far:
Rishi Sunak, former Minister of Finance
Sunak was the second minister to resign in protest at Johnson’s mishandling of sexual harassment allegations against Conservative lawmaker Christopher Pincher.
He launched his campaign on Friday, a day after Johnson quit, and is considered an early frontrunner but has come under fire for his wife’s non-domiciled tax status.
In his campaign video, Sunak promised to tackle Britain’s tough economic times with “honesty, seriousness and determination”.
Jeremy Hunt, former Foreign Secretary
Hunt finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, and said he would offer a more serious and less controversial style of leadership after Johnson’s turmoil as prime minister.
He has sought to differentiate himself as the only major candidate to date who has not served in Johnson’s government.
Sajid Javid, former Minister of Health
Javid was the first cabinet minister to resign in protest over accusations that Johnson misled the public about what he knew about the sexual harassment allegations against Conservative lawmaker Christopher Pincher.
The son of Pakistani Muslim immigrant parents, Javid is a former banker and proponent of the free market. He wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “The next Prime Minister needs integrity, experience and a plan to cut taxes for economic growth. That’s why I’m on your feet.
Penny Mordaunt, former UK Defense Secretary
Mordaunt held several ministerial posts, including that of defense secretary under the government of Prime Minister Theresa May.
The former Navy reservist announced her candidacy for the top job in a video on social media, saying that “our leadership needs to change. It needs to become a little less leader-centric, a lot more ship-centric” .
Grant Shapps, Transportation Secretary
Shapps has been secretary of state for transport since Johnson took office in 2019. He was first elected to parliament in 2005.
He was a stalwart defender of Johnson. He wrote on Twitter announcing his campaign: “I plan. I communicate. I campaign. I deliver. And I can win an election for our party in difficult times.
Nadhim Zahawi, Minister of Finance
Zahawi was appointed finance minister last week following the resignation of Rishi Sunak. He recently served as Minister of Education,
A former refugee from Iraq and co-founder of polling firm YouGov before entering parliament in 2010, Zahawi said he would run on a platform of lower taxes for individuals, families and businesses .
Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament
Tugendhat is the chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee and a former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He never served in the cabinet and was a regular critic of Johnson.
Writing on Twitter after announcing his campaign, he said: “Trust in our politics and our party is collapsing. We need a good start”.
Kemi Badenoch, MP
Badenoch was first elected to parliament in 2017 and has held junior ministerial posts. She never sat in cabinet.
Writing in The Times, she said: “Without change, the Conservative Party, Britain and the Western world will continue to drift.
You have probably heard that I am a candidate for the leadership of the party. It is important that you understand why. My article in The Times today ? https://t.co/3CbACk0pkq pic.twitter.com/gBDyD6tb4e
— Kemi Badenoch (@KemiBadenoch) July 9, 2022
Suella Braverman, MP
As Attorney General of England and Wales, Braverman has come under heavy criticism from lawyers after the government sought to breach international law over post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.
A staunch Brexit supporter, she resigned in protest as Deputy Minister for the Brexit Department in May, saying the former Prime Minister’s Brexit deal did not go far enough in severing ties with Europe. So far, his campaign has focused on severing ties with European institutions, including the European Convention on Human Rights.