Who is going to be the next UK Prime Minister?

Who is going to be the next Prime Minister? (PA Images)

The Tory leadership contest has kicked off after the official nominations to take over from Theresa May were announced.

10 MPs achieved the required nominations to enter the race.

The winner of the contest, elected by members of the Conservative Party, will become the UK’s next Prime Minister.

These are the contenders - and what you should know about them.

Boris Johnson is the current favourite to become the next Prime Minister (PA Images)

Who?

Boris Johnson

What you need to know

Boris Johnson kept an unusually low profile during the start of campaigning. As the runaway favourite, it is understood Mr Johnson is keeping schtum to avoid any controversy that could jeopardise a smooth route to Number 10.

He has been accused of promising handouts to the rich after details were revealed of his plans to slash income tax for higher earners at a cost of around £9.6 billion a year.

The former foreign secretary has taken a hard line on Brexit, insisting he would happily leave the EU without a deal and saying he would not countenance a further delay to Brexit.

Is he going to win?

It’s very likely he will. Mr Johnson is the clear favourite with the bookies, who put the odds of his victory as short as 3/5 - a significant lead over his rivals.

He is the favourite with Tory party members, meaning he is likely to win if fellow MPs vote him through to the final two.

But Mr Johnson is undoubtedly a divisive figure. Fellow leadership hopeful Rory Stewart and cabinet minister David Mundell have both said they would not serve in a Johnson cabinet thanks to his Brexit stance.

The public is equally split. According to a YouGov poll more voters think he would be a good Prime Minister than any of his rivals. However more voters also think he would be a bad Prime Minister than any of the others.

Historically the early favourites in Tory leadership contests end up losing. At this early stage there is still plenty of time for Mr Johnson to squander his lead.

Jeremy Hunt launches his leadership campaign. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Who?

Jeremy Hunt

What you need to know

The foreign secretary is selling himself as a candidate who can unite the warring Tory party. Mr Hunt has said that a no-deal Brexit would be ‘political suicide’ and claims he would be able to negotiate a better deal with the EU - something European leaders have repeatedly said is impossible.

He has the backing of Amber Rudd and Penny Mourdant - one a prominent Remainer and the other a prominent Brexiteer. These high-profile endorsements are valuable for Mr Hunt to position himself as a unifying force.

In an implied dig at Mr Johnson, he launched his campaign by saying the Conservatives are in need of an ‘experienced, serious leader.’

Is he going to win?

Maybe. He is the second favourite according to the bookies, and earning the support of Penny Mourdant, a popular Brexiteer who was seen as a possible contender herself, has given him an early boost.

Esther McVey is trading on her Eurosceptic credentials (PA Images)

Who?

Esther McVey

What you need to know

Esther McVey is positioning herself as a hard Brexiteer who is the most committed to delivering Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. She supports leaving without a deal and has failed to rule out suspending parliament to stop MPs voting to block no deal.

McVey also told the media she would sack all Remainers from her cabinet until afetr Brexit has happened. She quit Theresa May’s Government in 2018 in protest over the deal the Prime Minister negotiated with the EU. McVey has also said she would scrap HS2.

Is she going to win?

Launching her bid, McVey acknowledged herself she is ‘an outsider’. The bookies make the odds of her winning as long as 150/1 and it is very difficult to see how she could gather enough support to win.

Conservative leadership hopeful Dominic Raab at the launch of the Centre for Policy Studies essay collection on Britain Beyond Brexit, in central London.

Who?

Dominic Raab

What you need to know

The former Brexit secretary quit Theresa May’s government in protest over her Brexit deal - despite being in charge of the department tasked with Brexit negotiations.

Another staunch Eurosceptic, Raab has threatened to suspend parliament so that the UK leaves without a deal by default.

He has made some expensive promises on the campaign trail. Economist Paul Johnson told The Times Raab’s plan to slash income tax and national insurance comes with a £30 billion bill.

Is he going to win?

It’s a longshot but not impossible. He is favoured by Brexiteers and could hoover up Eurosceptic support from team Johnson if something goes wrong in the latter’s campaign. The odds from the bookies average out at around 25/1.

Prisons minister Rory Stewart speak to the media on College Green in Westminster, London.

Who?

Rory Stewart

What you need to know

Rory Stewart is running an unorthodox campaign. His preferred tactic to reach voters involves filming himself meeting the electorate in different parts of the country and posting the clips on Twitter. He was criticised for pretending to take a selfie video which was actually filmed by someone else.

Mr Stewart admitted on the campaign trail he had smoked opium, but insisted he regrets doing so.

He has directly attacked frontrunner Boris Johnson, accusing him of ‘poisoning’ politics and saying he would refuse to serve in Mr Johnson’s cabinet. He has ruled out a no-deal Brexit and says Theresa May’s deal is still the best option.

Is he going to win?

He has so far made the most headway with the public. A YouGov poll found he has made the biggest leap in the number of people who think he would be a good PM, though he is still in 7th place.

However he is still an outsider, and the odds of him becoming leader range from 20/1 to 28/1 depending on the bookmaker.

Andrea Leadsom arrives at her home in London, she has resigned, saying in a letter to Theresa May "I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result".

Who?

Andrea Leadsom

What you need to know

Another prominent Brexiteer, Andrea Leadsom ran against Theresa May in the 2016 leadership election but pulled out after reaching the final two. The decision followed a controversial interview where she suggested she was better placed than Mrs May to run the country because she is a mother.

She is another supporter of no deal, promising to massively ramp up preparations for what she calls a ‘managed no deal’.

Is she going to win?

Ms Leadsom is favoured by the bookies with odds as short as 8/1. However she has scant support from fellow MPs, meaning she is likely to struggle to make it past the early rounds.

Conservative leadership hopeful Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the launch of the Centre for Policy Studies essay collection on Britain Beyond Brexit in central London.

Who?

Sajid Javid

What you need to know

Sajid Javid has taken a hard line in his role as home secretary, such as deciding to strip Isis bride Shamima Begum of her citizenship. He has promised to loosen the Government’s purse strings by slowing the pace of debt reduction to open up funds for a public service spending spree.

During the campaign he has repeated his previous criticism of middle class drug users, saying those people ‘destroy lives’.

Is he going to win?

He has struggled to make waves in the early days of campaigning and YouGov polling shows his popularity with the public has decreased. He has been the most popular candidate with Tory members, who have the final say, in the past which suggests he has a chance if he makes it to the final two.

The bookies give him odds of around 20/1 to win.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove arrives at Downing Street. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

Who?

Michael Gove

What you need to know

The Environment Secretary’s campaign got off to a rocky start after it emerged he took cocaine before becoming an MP - a revelation that he will likely be dogged by as the race continues.

He is another candidate who has made a dig at Boris Johnson. Launching his own campaign he said the wealthy did not need any more tax cuts - a clear barb at Mr Johnson’s plans to slash income tax for higher earners.

He was a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign, and has said he would consider delaying Brexit again if the EU and UK were on the brink of deciding a deal.

Is he going to win?

He is seen as a threat by Boris Johnson’s campaign thanks to his Brexiteer credentials. Mr Gove has odds of winning at around 20/1.

Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Who?

Mark Harper

What you need to know

The former chief whip acknowledges he is an underdog. He was behind a controversial Home Office campaign that involved vans emblazoned with a message telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home’. Mr Harper has never held a cabinet job, something he claims counts in his favour as he is not tainted by the failed Brexit negotiations.

Is he going to win?

It’s extremely unlikely. The bookies certainly don’t think so, with some putting him on 500/1.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock launches his campaign in central London to become leader of the Conservatives.

Who?

Matt Hancock

What you need to know

The health secretary calls himself the ‘fresh start’ candidate who can ‘get sh*t done’. He has said a number of times that a no-deal Brexit is not an option as Parliament would move to block it from happening. He has strong words for candidates who would consider suspending parliament to allow the UK to leave without a deal by default, saying the idea ‘goes against everything that those men who waded onto those beaches fought and died for, and I will not have it’.

Is he going to win?

He is not a frontrunner, with a number of bookies offering odds of 100/1 for a Hancock victory.