Who’s the odds-on favourite to replace Boris Johnson?

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·3 min read
TOPSHOT - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (unseen) following a meeting at the NATO headquartes in Brussels, on February 10, 2022. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson is once again under intense pressure following the Partygate scandal. (Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is once again fighting for his political future as the Partygate scandal continues to damage his authority as prime minister.

Johnson, having appeared to recover some of his standing amid the UK’s response to the Ukraine crisis, saw this effectively disappear earlier this month when he was fined for breaking lockdown rules in Downing Street in June 2020 - becoming the first ever serving PM to be sanctioned for breaking the law.

The saga continued this week, with the government forced, in the face of a threatened Tory rebellion, to abandon plans to try and delay a vote on an inquiry into whether Johnson misled Parliament over the scandal.

Senior Conservative backbencher Tobias Ellwood said on Friday a confidence vote among Tory MPs is now looking “inevitable”.

Watch: PM 'happy' to face parliamentary investigation into whether he misled MPs about partygate

With an ever increasing likelihood of Johnson eventually being kicked out by his own MPs - or effectively being forced to resign if he is found to have misled Parliament - Yahoo News UK looks at the current leading contenders to replace him as Tory leader and therefore PM.

Liz Truss (6/1 on Oddschecker)

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 19, 2022: Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss leaves Downing Street after attending the weekly Cabinet meeting on April 19, 2022 in London, England. Today marks Boris Johnson's 1000th day in office as the British Prime Minister. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Foreign secretary Liz Truss. (Getty Images)

The foreign secretary has long been tipped as a potential successor to Johnson, and is a favourite of the Tory grassroots.

She has been in government since 2012 and as foreign secretary has aggressively sought to boost her personal profile. The taxpayer-funded photos of her in a tank on a visit to Estonia - replicating a famous Margaret Thatcher image - is a case in point.

Tom Tugendhat (7/1)

Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat speaking to the media at the Armagh city hotel as members of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee came to Northern Ireland to discuss foreign policy and Brexit. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Backbencher Tom Tugendhat. (Getty Images)

In January, the senior backbencher - and enemy of Johnson - became the first Tory to say he would throw his hat in the ring if there was a leadership contest.

As someone without ministerial experience, few people outside Westminster will know who he is. But with his fresh perspective, could he replicate the impact of Rory Stewart in the 2019 contest?

Jeremy Hunt (7/1)

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt responds after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the latest situation with the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Former leadership contender Jeremy Hunt. (Getty Images)

A former health and foreign secretary who was sacked from government after he and Johnson made the final two of the 2019 contest.

He said in January that his leadership “ambition hasn’t completely vanished” but “it would take a lot to persuade me to put my hat into the ring”.

Ben Wallace (8/1)

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace speaks to the media during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Thursday April 21, 2022. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Defence secretary Ben Wallace. (Getty Images)

Like Tugendhat, perhaps a surprising frontrunner. But as defence secretary, Wallace has been praised for his response to the Ukraine crisis.

He has remained loyal to Johnson, saying on Thursday: “The prime minister is my prime minister, I fully support him.”

Penny Mordaunt (10/1)

Penny Mordaunt arrives at the Cabinet Office, London, ahead of a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss coronavirus. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Penny Mordaunt. (Getty Images)

Regarded as a “dark horse” candidate, trade policy minister Mordaunt has been in Johnson’s government since 2020, having initially been sacked after backing Hunt in 2019.

Mordaunt is said to be well-liked among Tory MPs, as well as popular with the party membership.

Rishi Sunak (12/1)

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves after attending a Service of Thanksgiving for Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in central London on March 29, 2022. - A thanksgiving service will take place on Tuesday for Queen Elizabeth II's late husband, Prince Philip, nearly a year after his death and funeral held under coronavirus restrictions. Philip, who was married to the queen for 73 years, died on April 9 last year aged 99, following a month-long stay in hospital with a heart complaint. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak. (AFP via Getty Images)

A few months ago, the chancellor looked like a prime minister-in-waiting and was not shy about publicly distancing himself from his scandal-hit boss. The narrative has now changed dramatically.

First, he was widely criticised for not doing enough in his spring statement to help people amid the cost of living crisis. And then it emerged Sunak and his family potentially saved tens of millions of pounds in taxes through his millionairess wife Akshata Murty’s non-dom status. And then he was also fined for breaking lockdown rules…

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