Tom Tugendhat or Jeremy Hunt should be next Tory leader, according to The Independent reader poll

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Tom Tugendhat, the ex-soldier and Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
Tom Tugendhat, the ex-soldier and Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

Tom Tugendhat or Jeremy Hunt are the frontrunners for next Tory leader after Boris Johnson stepped down, according to a poll of readers of The Independent.

Twenty-four per cent of readers voted for Tugendhat, the MP for Tonbridge and Malling, with former health secretary Mr Hunt coming a close second, with 22 per cent of the vote.

John B Ellis wrote in the comments: “Tom Tugendhat. He’s the one least compromised by association with the incumbent coterie of ghouls and fools, and he’s acknowledged an interest.”

OrsonRyder added: “Looking at the possible contenders, there’s only one actually capable of the job and that’s Hunt, that’s not to say he’s any good.”

The next most popular choice from a list of contenders, which included Ben Wallace (9 per cent), Penny Mordaunt (5 per cent), Rishi Sunak (3 per cent), Liz Truss (3 per cent), Sajid Javid (3 per cent) and Nadhim Zahawi (less than 1 per cent) was ‘other’, which got 19 per cent of the vote.

Readers who selected ‘other’, as well as ‘don’t know’ (2 per cent) or ‘don’t care’ (9 per cent) were asked to give their alternatives in the comments section of the article.

The most popular alternative mentioned was Rory Stewart, despite him no longer being a Conservative MP, with 17 comments voting in his favour.

Commenter Kenhubert wrote: “Why don’t you include Rory Stewart? Oh, right, the Tories are not a place where a decent man can survive.”

Richinyork added: “If we have to have a Conservative Party government, then one led by Rory Stewart would at least have integrity and honesty. If they had any sense, they would be doing their level best to persuade him to return to politics.”

Many commenters said they didn’t want a Conservative government, with 13 people mentioning they wanted Keir Starmer, the Labour leader to lead the country.

Juliasophia wrote: “There were a few Tories but they’ve all been eliminated or eliminated themselves like Rory Stewart or Dominic Grieve. Sir Keir is an obvious choice. He seems - in his quiet way - to have reformed the Labour Party, with an impressive front bench.”

Someone with the commenting name CarnabysWhiskers said: “Keir Starmer. Election now. If necessary, share power with Lib Dems. Priority one - proportional representation.”

Another commenter called Perhaps? added: “Not Tory. Not UKIP. Our next government has to be Labour and we need to keep up the pressure to ditch the outdated FPTP [first past the post] and replace it with PR [proportional representation] to avoid another mess like the one we’re currently experiencing.”

Other names mentioned by participants included Nadine Dorries, Michael Fabricant, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Suella Braverman, Alok Sharma, Tobias Ellwood or former MPs Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke.

Some people suggested Larry, the number 10 cat, Katie Price, Peppa Pig, Basil Brush or Kermit the frog as alternatives.

MartyAotearoa said: “I voted ‘don’t care’ because there is no one in the Tory party fit to lead the country.”

Commenter Jjjxtzjjj added: “The sad situation is truly one that anyone who wants the job isn’t fit to have it.”

Adamois wrote: “It’s the Conservative government which needs to be replaced, not just its leader.”

The reader poll had 640 votes. Tom Tugendhat got 156 votes, Jeremy Hunt 142 and ‘Other (let us know who in the comments)’ 121. The option ‘Don’t care’ got 59 votes, as did Ben Wallace. Penny Mordaunt got 33 votes, Rishi Sunak 19 and Liz Truss and Sajid Javid both got 17 votes each. Fourteen people chose ‘don’t know’ and Nadhim Zahawi got three votes.

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