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Boris Johnson, Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak Alamy Stock Photo via PhotoJoiner
now what

Truss has quit - so what happens now and who might take over?

Rishi Sunak? Penny Mordaunt? … Boris Johnson?

LAST UPDATE | 20 Oct 2022

AFTER A CHAOTIC 44 days at the helm of the UK Government, Liz Truss is to step down as Prime Minister and as Tory party leader.

This now leaves a gap at the top of British politics, with a rapid leadership campaign set to take place over the next week.

The last campaign took place over 55 days, while Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, expects this campaign to last just eight.

Nominations for replacing Liz Truss will have to be submitted by Monday, he said.

Speaking outside the Houses of Parliament, Brady said that candidates to replace Truss will need at least 100 nominations from Conservative MPs.

This means that three candidates could be nominated, with Brady adding that if only one candidate gets 100 nominations, they will be the next Prime Minister.

He was joined by Conservative Party chairman Jake Berry who said there would be an online vote for members if two candidates made it through the parliamentary stages.

There will be an outreach for members who do not have an email address or internet access.

The final two candidates will have a televised debate before the final vote takes place, they added.

The previous election saw rounds of MP voting to narrow candidates down to the final two over several days, with Tory party members voting on the final two candidates after several weeks of hustings.

Truss will remain in place as a caretaker Prime Minister until the election is complete and a new leader chosen.

So with the election scheduled to occur next Friday, who are the runners and riders to replace Liz Truss as leader of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister? 

Rishi Sunak

rishi-sunak-2021 Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The runner up in last month’s (!) leadership election and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is surely eyeing up a second run at the top job.

Sunak, who was one of the Cabinet ministers who resigned during the putsch against Boris Johnson, was favoured among MPs to become the next Tory leader, but he was left as the underdog in the party membership vote.

While he won the MPs vote with 137 supporters, he saw a defeat against Truss during the membership vote, only receiving 60,399 votes compared to Truss’s 81,326.

An MP since 2015, Sunak was Chancellor during the Covid-19 pandemic and oversaw the  jobs furlough scheme and other supports from the Treasury. 

Since he was defeated however, he has remained quiet and has not yet publicly signalled whether or not he intends to run.

However, Sunak supporters have told Westminster journalists that he will throw his hat into the ring.

Penny Mordaunt

britains-secretary-of-state-for-international-development-penny-mordaunt-leaves-10-downing-street-london-britain-november-12-2018-reuterssimon-dawson Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Another candidate for the leadership is Penny Mordaunt

Currently Leader of the House of Commons, Mordaunt had previously run in the last leadership election and came third in the final round of MP voting with 105 votes.

She subsequently backed Truss to be the next leader and was appointed to cabinet following her appointment as Prime Minister.

Following Truss’s resignation, she told MPs in the House of Commons:

“I am going to keep calm and carry on – and I would suggest everyone else do the same.”

Mordaunt was first elected as an MP in 2010 and has served in multiple state ministerial roles alongside a stint at the Cabinet table under Prime Minister Theresa May.

While she has not publicly declared her intention to stand, she is a likely name to pop up in the days ahead.

Boris Johnson

boris-johnson-reading-from-his-book-johnsons-life-of-london-at-the-telegraph-hay-festival-2012-hay-on-wye-powys-wales-uk Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Following Truss’s resignation earlier this afternoon, The Times broke a story saying that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson is intending to return and run for the leadership.

It comes after he was forced to resign after 62 ministers resigned from his Government over a series of scandals over the summer, including Partygate and the Chris Pincher scandal.

Multiple MPs have publicly called for him to return, with one, James Duddridge saying that it was “time to come back”.

Other names?

Other people who have been floated include new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who tore up Truss’s mini-budget on Monday morning.

However, Sky News has reported that Hunt has ruled himself out of the contest.

Suella Braverman may also look to run for the top job again, following her damning criticism of Truss in her resignation letter yesterday evening.

She said that she was concerned about “the direction” of the British government.

The popular Defence Secretary Ben Wallace may throw his hat into the ring.

At the very beginning of the previous leadership contest, Wallace had been the most popular candidate among the grassroot Tory members, but he quickly ruled himself out of the running.

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