The race to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ramping up, with 11 candidates declaring their intention to run, many on platforms of lowering taxes and promises to clean up government following Johnson’s crisis-plagued leadership.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative party backbenchers announced on Monday that a new leader would be announced on September 5, the same day that the British parliament returns from its summer recess. He also said that the candidate list would close on Monday, before a first round of voting on Wednesday. The list will then be whittled down to two, and the party’s grassroot members will be given the final say.
Johnson announced on Thursday he would step down, after nearly 60 lawmakers and government officials resigned over his handling of a series of scandals, including illegal gatherings held at his Downing Street office in defiance of coronavirus lockdown rules and his failure to act on sexual misconduct allegations against his deputy chief whip.
Now, with the government in tatters, bookmakers and much of Britain are speculating about his likely successor. A slew of contenders have thrown their hat into the ring – from household names to lesser-known Conservative members of parliament.
Among those to announce their candidacy are an Iraqi Kurdish refugee, the children of Indian and Pakistani immigrants and several women – reflecting efforts by the Conservative Party to field more ethnically diverse candidates for Parliament in recent years.
Any candidates who run for the leadership will go through rounds of voting by Conservative lawmakers until only two remain – at which point Conservative Party members nationwide will vote. The winner will be the new party leader – and prime minister.
Here’s a look at the possible contenders.