Who Will Replace Theresa May? The Tory Leadership Candidates To Be Next PM

4 June 2019, 11:13 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 15:53

Theresa May is to announce the date she will resign as Prime Minister. So who are the favourites to replace her? We outline the leading candidates to become the next Prime Minister.

A Conservative leadership contest is expected to take place across the summer in 2019 with a new Prime Minister in place before the Conservative Party Conference in September.

There are now 12 candidates who have declared they are standing to replace Theresa May as Conservative leader, after James Cleverly withdrew from the contest.

The Conservative leadership candidates
The Conservative leadership candidates. Picture: PA

Declared Candidates

Boris Johnson
The favourite to be the next Prime Minister, Boris has announced his intention to stand in a leadership contest after deciding against it in 2016. A favourite of the Tory membership, he is the only Conservative candidate to win a Mayoral election in London, but his time in the Foreign Office - especially the controversy around Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - will not have done him any favours.

Boris Johnson leaving his home on his bike
Boris Johnson leaving his home on his bike. Picture: PA

Andrea Leadsom
The leader of the House of Commons was in the final two with Theresa May in 2016 before withdrawing and allowing Mrs May to become Prime Minister without a vote. A Brexit supporter, she has said she is "seriously considering" standing again and has a chance of going one better.

Dominic Raab
The former Brexit Secretary is one of the favourites among Conservatives to take over with two key donors behind him. His semi-official campaign is already underway, with the Ready For Raab Twitter feed up and running.

Rory Stewart
Popular among Remain-voting Conservatives, the former diplomat is a thoughtful and engaging politician, but not one with a huge profile. A big advocate of Theresa May's deal.

Esther McVey
The Brexit-backer, a former television presenter who worked with Steve Allen, resigned as work and pensions minister in November in protest at May’s Brexit deal. She has said she plans to run in the leadership contest.

Esther McVey has thrown her hat into the ring
Esther McVey has thrown her hat into the ring. Picture: PA

Jeremy Hunt
The Remain-voter turned Brexit supporter has got a lot of Conservatives behind him, but his six years as Health Secretary has not left him popular among voters.

Matt Hancock
The Health Secretary is a dark horse in the Conservative leadership stakes. Entering politics as George Osborne's advisor, he has risen quickly through the ranks of the government.

Michael Gove
The Environment Secretary finished third in the last leadership contest, having stabbed Boris Johnson in the back. Despite infuriating teachers during his time as Education Secretary, the Vote Leave chairman is seen as a competent performer and his work on green issues in his current role has won him a lot of admirers.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove
Environment Secretary Michael Gove. Picture: Getty

Sajid Javid
The Home Secretary, who has a portrait of Margaret Thatcher on his wall, was a rising star, but his chaotic handling of the migrant crisis will not have helped his cause.

Kit Malthouse
The Housing Minister is the latest to throw his hat into the ring, saying the country needs a "new face" as Prime Minister.

Mark Harper
Backbencher and former chief whip Tory Mark Harper was a Minister in the Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions during the 2010-2015 coalition.

Sam Gyimah
Former Universities Minister is the MP for East Surrey, has backed calls for a second referendum.

Conservative MP Mark Harper
Conservative MP Mark Harper. Picture: Getty

Withdrawn From Contest

James Cleverly
The 49-year-old has only been in parliament for 4 years, but is a rising star in the Conservatives. Not afraid of a spat on social media with opposition MPs.

Expected To Stand

Sir Graham Brady
He has stood down as chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee after being asked by a number of people to run. He is currently considering his options.

Steve Baker
A senior figure in the Eurosceptic ERG, if the next Prime Minister has to be a Brexiteer, he will be high on the list.

Nicky Morgan
Senior Brexiteers have been touting the pro-EU former Education Secretary as a potential successor to Theresa May, seeing her as a "unity" candidate.

Liz Truss
The Brexiteer has essentially launched her leadership bid by demanding a radical reboot of traditional Tory policies. Her cause won't have been helped by a disastrous interview on LBC with Eddie Mair.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss. Picture: PA

George Freeman
The Norfolk MP has written a set of values Tory leadership hopefuls must be tested against and has previously said he would stand "if I'm asked to".

Priti Patel
The former International Development Secretary is a popular figure among Brexit supporters and has been a strong critic of Theresa May since leaving the Cabinet.

Penny Mordaunt
Recently promoted to Defence Secretary, Ms Mordaunt could be seen as a candidate that could reunite the Conservative Party.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd. Picture: Getty

Not Standing

Amber Rudd
Previously seen as a favourite to replace Theresa May, the former Home Secretary was forced to resign over the Windrush scandal and is hindered by a tiny majority in her constituency. She ruled herself out of the leadership contest, saying now was 'not her time'.

Damian Green
The former Cabinet Office Minister told LBC that he feels like he is the 'only person ruling himself out', and that Matt Hancock would do "a lot of the things I would want to see happen" and is "more than happy" to support him.

Justine Greening
The former Education Secretary originally suggested she would stand in a leadership contest to ensure there is a centrist on the ballot paper, but wrote in the Guardian that the race to replace Theresa May is "the wrong contest at the wrong time".