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

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

There are now four remaining candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Tory Party leader.

Tom Tugendhat was knocked out in the third round on Monday after a vote by Conservative MPs.

It comes after Suella Braverman was eliminated in the second round on July 14, while Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi both crashed out the day before.

Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, commanded the support of the most Tory MPs, receiving 115 votes, with Penny Mordaunt taking second place on 82.

Liz Truss came in third with 71, Kemi Badenoch came fourth on 58, while Mr Tugendhat crashed out on 32.

The candidates have gone head-to-head in two TV debates, the first on Channel 4 and the second on ITV. A third, due to be aired on Sky News, was cancelled after candidates pulled out.

A snap poll found Tom Tugendhat to be the clear winner of the first, while a survey after the second saw Mr Sunak deemed the best performer by the public.

(Left-right) Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
(Left-right) Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

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: 9/2

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.

She has been accused of skipping ministerial meetings in recent months to prepare her bid for the Tory leadership.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary, said her deputy “hasn’t been available” for duties and left colleagues to “pick up the pieces”.

Ms Mordaunt also came under fire from Lord Frost, the former Brexit chief negotiator, on Thursday when he revealed his "grave reservations" about her becoming prime minister.

Citing his time working alongside her during the Brexit negotiations, when Ms Mordaunt served as his junior, Lord Frost said she "wasn't fully accountable or always visible".

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 previously 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, 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.

Conservative party leadership contender Penny Mordaunt at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership contender Penny Mordaunt at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

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: 5/6

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.

The former chancellor on Monday pledged to create a new criminal offence for belonging to or facilitating grooming gangs, which would lead to tougher sentences, in a first glimpse into his approach on crime.

He also called for criminals to spend longer in prison if they do not attend sentencing hearings and backed ministers getting a veto over parole board decisions.

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

And on Thursday, Mr Sunak insisted that he was not too rich to be Tory leader and Prime Minister, as he asked people to judge him on his actions and not his bank account.

He said that he hoped his background, which has seen him amass a fortune in the City, would serve as an inspiration.

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.

Conservative party leadership contender Rishi Sunak at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership contender Rishi Sunak at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

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.”

On Friday he said: "Borrowing your way out of inflation isn't a plan, it's a fairytale."

Read the full interview here. 

Liz Truss

Latest odds: 9/4

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.

According to a source for her campaign, Ms Truss, 46, pitched "heavyweight credentials on the economy" at the 1922 Committee hustings.

Conservative party leadership contender Liz Truss at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Conservative party leadership contender Liz Truss at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

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.

And on Thursday night it emerged that Ms Braverman would support her, after being knocked out of the contest herself.

Ms Truss argued she could be trusted with Brexit despite voting Remain in the 2016 EU referendum as she held a launch event for her Tory leadership bid. She said: “We need to deliver Brexit and all the opportunities it offers. We need to win the fight for freedom at home and across the world.”

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

Ms Truss 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.

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.

On Friday's TV debate, she said: "I'm running an entirely positive campaign which is about the great challenges we face and what we need to do to deliver for the people of Britain because we are facing a cost-of-living crisis, families are struggling."

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

Kemi Badenoch has emerged as the potential kingmaker in the Tory leadership race, picking up votes in the third ballot on Monday night. She declared she would remain in the race and was “in it to win”.

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, Ms 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.

On Friday she sought to address the energy crisis driving up the cost of living.

She said: "Energy is a subject that worries me a lot. I grew up in Nigeria where there were blackouts every single day, there still are. I know what it's like not to be able to turn on the light, so it terrifies me seeing how high bills are going."

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

Read her Telegraph interview here.