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

Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, and Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch - PA/ UK Parliament
Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, and Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch - PA/ UK Parliament

There are now eight candidates left in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Tory party leader and the next Prime Minister.  Here, we assess the chances of everybody still in the running. The latest odds are from SkyBet.

We will keep this article updated.

Liz Truss

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.

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.

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.

Latest odds: 3/1

Rishi Sunak

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.

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. 

Latest odds: 7/4

Suella Braverman QC

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.

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.

Latest odds: 50/1

Kemi Badenoch

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”.

“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.

Latest odds: 10/1

Tom Tugendhat

The chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, who formally announced his leadership bid here 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 to "invade a country".

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 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.”

Latest odds: 18/1

Penny Mordaunt

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

She has reportedly spent this week ringing round MPs to bolster support and believes she has as many as 60 backers. Laura Round, a former special adviser to Ms Mordaunt, is understood to be running her campaign, while Luke Graystone, a former adviser to Andrea Leadsom, is also involved.

On Sunday, she launched her campaign on Twitter with a video of stock footage of Britain, which she did not appear in.

You can read her Telegraph interview with Allison Pearson here.

Latest odds: 2/1

Jeremy Hunt

The man who made it to the final two in the last leadership election before polling half as many votes from Tory members as Mr Johnson, Mr Hunt might appeal to MPs and Tory voters who yearn for a sensible, safe pair of hands after the chaos of recent months.

Jeremy Hunt and his wife Lucia - Jeff Gilbert for The Telegraph
Jeremy Hunt and his wife Lucia - Jeff Gilbert for The Telegraph

A former foreign secretary, Mr Hunt, 55, is also the longest-serving health secretary in history and served as culture secretary during the 2012 Olympics.

Regarded as a metropolitan liberal, the self-made millionaire campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum, which ruled him out of the running in 2019 and could still prove fatal to his chances. He has been sounding out Tory MPs for some time and has the support of Andrew Mitchell, a former chief whip.

Writing for the Telegraph, he pressed home his anti-Boris credentials and said that he would keep the rise in National Insurance as "the NHS needs the money".

Latest odds: 33/1

Nadhim Zahawi

In accepting the post of Chancellor, Mr Zahawi appeared to have enhanced his chances of becoming prime minister by burnishing his CV with one of the great offices of state, but by telling Mr Johnson to resign the very next day and publishing a letter calling for him to go, Mr Zahawi played a poor hand.

Nadhim Zahawi's trajectory has taken him from the streets of Baghdad to setting up YouGov, being an MP and now the plush corridors of the Treasury - Jamie Lorriman/The Telegraph
Nadhim Zahawi's trajectory has taken him from the streets of Baghdad to setting up YouGov, being an MP and now the plush corridors of the Treasury - Jamie Lorriman/The Telegraph

His critics believe he was naive to accept the Treasury job in the first place, and should have resigned when he told Mr Johnson to quit, along with Michelle Donelan, who was education secretary for less than two days.

One of the richest MPs in Parliament, Iraqi-born Mr Zahawi, 55, whose parents fled Baghdad to escape persecution by Saddam Hussein, made millions when he co-founded the polling firm YouGov and then ploughed the money he made from it into property.

He is reported to have hired Mark Fullbrook, the political strategist who ran Mr Johnson’s 2019 campaign.

You can read his Telegraph interview here.

Latest odds: 100/1