The six Tory leadership candidates battling to replace Boris Johnson as next prime minister

The six candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race, top from left, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch. Bottom from left, Suella Braverman, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt
The six candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race, top from left, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch. Bottom from left, Suella Braverman, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt

There are now six candidates left in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Tory party leader.

Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi crashed out of the contest on July 13, leaving six candidates in contention to become the next prime minister.

Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, commanded the support of the most Tory MPs, receiving 88 votes, with Penny Mordaunt - who earlier polling showed has become a favourite among grassroots activists - taking second place on 67.

Here, we assess the chances of everybody still in the running. The latest odds are from SkyBet.

We will keep this article updated. 

Penny Mordaunt

Latest odds: 4/6

A woman whose rankings in recent leadership polls far outstrip her public profile, the trade minister has consistently polled as one of the top choices among Tory Party members in recent weeks, despite her relative lack of top-level experience.

Currently in her eighth ministerial role, she was international development secretary for two years and was made the first female defence secretary by Theresa May before Mr Johnson replaced her in his first Cabinet 85 days later.

Ms Mordaunt fought back against criticism that she is too “woke” to lead the Conservative Party as she launched her leadership campaign by insisting women “like me” cannot have a penis.

The former defence secretary, who is one of the frontrunners in the race to succeed Boris Johnson and came second in the first ballot of MPs on July 13, quoted Margaret Thatcher as she toughened her stance on the trans issue.

Named after the Royal Navy ship HMS Penelope, Ms Mordaunt, 49, is the daughter of a former paratrooper, and is a Royal Navy reservist.

Writing in the Telegraph, she said that as prime minister she would help families cope with the cost of living crisis by tackling soaring inflation and falling confidence. She added that she would implement targeted tax cuts to help families, cut VAT at fuel pumps to 50 per cent and turbo-charge levelling up projects.

You can read her Telegraph interview with Allison Pearson here.

Rishi Sunak

Latest odds: 7/2

The man who helped bring down Boris Johnson by resigning as chancellor remains one of the favourites to succeed him despite the controversy earlier this year over his multi-millionaire wife’s non-dom tax status and his own curious decision to retain a US green card during much of his time at the Treasury.

His biggest hurdle might be convincing fellow MPs that his reluctance to cut taxes makes him fit to run the country, but the 42-year-old is one of the few candidates with the requisite experience and skills to step straight into the top job.

On Tuesday he won the backing of Jeremy Hunt after the former health secretary was knocked out of the race.

Speaking to The Telegraph in his first campaign interview on July 12, the former chancellor pledged to model himself on Margaret Thatcher with responsible tax cuts.

Countering claims that his refusal to promise immediate tax cuts shows he is not a true conservative, Mr Sunak said that, by prioritising inflation, he was following the Iron Lady’s economic approach more than his rivals.

“We will cut taxes and we will do it responsibly,” he said. “That’s my economic approach. I would describe it as common sense Thatcherism. I believe that’s what she would have done.”

Read the full interview here. 

Liz Truss

Latest odds: 4/1

Liz Truss launched her Tory leadership bid by promising to cut tax from “day one” in office, declaring that it is time to get back to Conservative values.

In an article for The Telegraph announcing her candidacy, the Foreign Secretary signalled that she would cut corporation tax, reverse the National Insurance rise and overhaul business rates.

On Wednesday she appealed to Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs who backed Suella Braverman and Nadhim Zahawi to join her campaign to be prime minister and unite the Right.

On Thursday, Ms Truss will promise to govern in a “Conservative way” as she holds her first campaign event.

Ms Truss, 46, has been gearing up for a leadership bid for months, using last autumn’s Tory Party conference to schmooze potential backers and then running “Fizz with Liz” events at 5 Hertford Street, a private members’ club.

Liz Truss - Carl Court/Getty Images
Liz Truss - Carl Court/Getty Images

A tax-cutting Tory who likes to play up comparisons to Mrs Thatcher, she prefers not to mention the fact that she voted Remain in the EU referendum.

A government minister since 2012, Ms Truss is the longest continuously serving member of the Cabinet, having held four previous Cabinet posts.

You can read her Telegraph Op-Ed here.

Kemi Badenoch

Latest odds: 16/1

Ms Badenoch spent the past two-and-a-half years as an equalities minister in the Department for Levelling Up before she quit the role on July 6. Two days later, she announced her candidacy.

Speaking at her official campaign launch in Westminster, Mrs Badenoch was asked what short-term measures she would roll out to address the cost-of-living crisis.

The 42-year-old said the Government should concentrate on tackling inflation because that was “the big thing that is driving it and likely to make things worse”.

Kemi Badenoch - Jeff Gilbert
Kemi Badenoch - Jeff Gilbert

“Micro-policies” such as “giving out £50 cash here or a rebate there” were merely quick fixes that would not solve the underlying problems, she said.

Michael Gove has backed Mrs Badenoch as the next Tory leader, praising her “no bull—” approach.

Read her Telegraph interview here.

Tom Tugendhat

Latest odds: 33/1

The chairman of the foreign affairs select committee who formally announced his leadership bid in The Telegraph, believes he can break the mould by stepping into No 10 despite having no ministerial experience.

The 49-year-old, who holds dual British and French citizenship because he has a French mother, is the son of a High Court judge and served with the Intelligence Corps as a Territorial Army lieutenant colonel from 2003 to 2013. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan and also worked as a civilian for the Foreign Office in Afghanistan.

He described the fall of Kabul in 2021 as “the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez”. Asked what was the naughtiest thing he had ever done, he replied: "invade a country".

Tom Tugendhat - Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Tom Tugendhat - Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Speaking at his campaign launch in Westminster, Mr Tugendhat suggested he would reintroduce Labour’s four-hour waiting target for A&E and “hold NHS leaders accountable” for meeting it.

He also attacked “politics that is more about personality than principle”.

Addressing the cost-of-living crisis, he said: “When the moment demanded service, we delivered scandal. This is a crisis of purpose, of leadership and of trust.”

Suella Braverman QC

Latest odds: 100/1

A Brexit "Spartan" who held out for a hard Brexit, Mrs Braverman, 42, was chairman of the Eurosceptic European Research Group before entering government as a Brexit minister under Theresa May. Boris Johnson promoted the Cambridge-educated lawyer to her current post in 2020.

She has described herself as a "child of the British Empire" because her parents are from Mauritius and Kenya, adding that on the whole the British Empire was "a force for good".

The Attorney General set out her vision as prime minister at a meeting of the reconstituted Conservative Way Forward, a Thatcherite thank tank.

Suella Braverman - Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Suella Braverman - Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

She said: “Don’t vote for me because I’m a woman. Don’t vote for me because I’m brown.

“Vote for me because I love this country and would do anything for it.

“Vote for me because I have a clear vision and have experience working at the top of government.  But most of all, vote for me because I’m a Conservative.”

You can read her Telegraph Op-Ed here.