Who will be the next PM? These are the favourites to replace Theresa May

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

With speculation running rife that Theresa May’s time in Downing Street is nearly at an end, talk has turned to who will replace her.

Brexit has been the thorn in the PM’s side since she took over from David Cameron in 2016 and reports in Sunday newspapers suggested various names to take over.

Theresa May’s days are numbered at Downing Street, according to reports (Getty)

The Prime Minister told colleagues at the end of last year that she would step down before the next scheduled General Election in 2022 but the pace of Brexit means she could be gone within days.

Here are the key names currently being floated to take the helm if Mrs May steps down…

Michael Gove has been rumoured to act as a caretaker PM (Getty)

Michael Gove

The Environment Secretary had a bruising experience in the last Tory leadership race but he is now seen as the favourite at 3-1 – according to Ladbrokes – to replace Mrs May, largely due to his Brexiteer credentials.

In June 2016, Mr Gove, who was campaign manager for Boris Johnson’s drive to succeed David Cameron, withdrew his support on the morning Mr Johnson was due to declare and threw his own hat in the ring instead.

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He came third in the first round of voting, trailing behind ultimate winner Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom.

Mr Gove, 51, was born in Edinburgh, studied English at Oxford and was a journalist before becoming an MP. He is married to Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine.

Despite speculation he could take the job, he told reporters on Sunday it was “not the time to change the captain of the ship”.

David Lidington is the Deputy PM in all but name (Getty)

David Lidington

Mrs May’s de facto deputy is seen by some as the natural caretaker prime minister but he has been clear he does not want the job.

He said on Sunday: “One thing that working closely with the Prime Minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task.”

Nevertheless, Ladbrokes are offering odds of 4-1 for him to become Number 10’s next occupant. The 62-year-old has been the MP for Aylesbury since 1992 and was Minister of State for Europe from 2010 to 2016. He is married with four children.

Boris Johnson has been an outspoken critic of Mrs May’s handling of Brexit (Getty)

Boris Johnson

Prominent Brexiteer and former Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson has been a leading voice of opposition to Mrs May’s Brexit plan. The colourful Old Etonian was one of the key players in the 2017 Leave campaign and resigned from the Cabinet following the Chequers summit in July.

He was heavily tipped as a successor to David Cameron but ruled himself out of the 2016 leadership contest after Michael Gove made a last-minute bid for the top job.

Odds of him taking the helm have slipped in recent months to 8-1, according to Ladbrokes, but he is likely to have the backing of many pro-Leave members of the party.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was a prominent Remainer in the EU referendum (Getty)

Jeremy Hunt

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (odds of 8-1 with Ladbrokes) was a prominent Remainer in the 2016 referendum. As Health Secretary, Mr Hunt fought a long battle with doctors over a new contract.

The 52-year-old, who was first elected as MP for South West Surrey in 2005, was appointed Foreign Secretary in July following the resignation of Boris Johnson.

The bookies odds on who will replace Theresa May (PA)

He chose not to run in the 2016 leadership contest and instead gave his full support to Mrs May, saying it was “not the right time” to put his hat in the ring.

Mr Hunt made a noticeable public shift towards Euroscepticism after the referendum, which could win him allies in the Leave camp if he ran for the top job.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is thought to harbour prime ministerial ambitions (Getty)

Dominic Raab

With odds at 12-1, Mr Raab is an outlier to take over from the Prime Minister but is thought to harbour ambitions for the role.

Mr Raab, a prominent Brexiteer in the referendum campaign, was appointed as Brexit Secretary in July but resigned from the role in November, saying he could not support Mrs May’s eventual deal.

In his resignation letter on November 15, he wrote: “Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction. I am only sorry, in good conscience, that I cannot.”

Mr Raab, 44, has been the MP for Esher and Walton since he was elected in 2010.