Who are the likely runners and riders to replace the Prime Minister?
By Harriet Line, Press Association Political Correspondent Theresa May says she will resign as prime minister if it means her Brexit deal passes May’s bombshell resignation statement in full
© Victoria Jones Theresa May’s time in office could be coming to a close (Victoria Jones/PA)
Theresa May’s announcement to Conservative MPs that she is prepared to step down for the second phase of Brexit talks should her EU withdrawal deal pass has sparked speculation about who might replace her.
The Prime Minister’s decision to tell the 1922 Committee that she “won’t stand in the way” of new leadership prompted leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg to say: “The great joy of the Tory Party is it has so many talented people in it. It’s like finding a fast bowler in Yorkshire. You just call and one appears.”
Here’s a look at key names currently being floated to take the helm if Mrs May steps down.
© Provided by The Press Association The Environment Secretary said it was “not the time to change the captain of the ship’ (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Environment Secretary had a bruising experience in the last Tory leadership race but he is now seen as the favourite at 7-2 – according to William Hill – 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.
He came third in the first round of voting, trailing behind ultimate winner Mrs 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”.
© Provided by The Press Association David Lidington said ‘I don’t think that I’ve any wish to take over from the PM’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
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.
“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,” he said on Sunday.
William Hill are offering odds of 6-1 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.
© Provided by The Press Association Boris Johnson was a key player in the 2017 Leave campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
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 Mr Cameron but ruled himself out of the 2016 leadership contest after Mr Gove made a last-minute bid for the top job.
Odds of him taking the helm have come in at 6-1, according to William Hill, but he is likely to have the backing of many pro-Leave members of the party.
© Provided by The Press Association Jeremy Hunt chose not to run in the 2016 leadership contest (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with odds of 10-1 at William Hill, 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 Mr Johnson.
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 public shift towards Euroscepticism after the referendum, which could win him allies in the Leave camp if he ran for the top job.
© Provided by The Press Association Dominic Raab is thought to have ambitions of taking on the top job (Steve Parsons/PA)
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.
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