The race is on to become the UK’s next Prime Minister with five Conservative MPs throwing their hat into the ring to lead their party so far.
Some senior Tory MPs declared their leadership ambitions before Theresa May could give her emotional resignation speech in front of Number 10 yesterday.
More announcements anticipated in the coming days as the party expects to find a new leader by the end of July.
Brexit is likely to be central to the battle for the top spot as whoever takes over Mrs May will take on the burden of future EU talks.
These are the five MPs jostling to be future leader
Boris Johnson – 4/5 odds
The former Foreign Secretary, 54, is the currently the bookies’ favourite and is very popular with grassroots members.
He couldn’t even wait for Theresa May to say goodbye, announcing his leadership bid last week, saying: ‘Of course I’m going to go for it’.
The ex-Mayor of London has been backed by a few prominent MPs including Johnny Mercer, former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The hardline Brexiteer is less popular among the party’s centrist and pro-remain wing who are alarmed at his support of a no-deal Brexit if all else fails.
In a speech in Switzerland on Friday, he was deemed to have vowed to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 ‘deal or no deal’ if he is made PM.
The blonde mopped father-of-four gained kudos among leavers when he walked out of the cabinet alongside former Brexit Secretary David Davis in July last year over Mrs May’s Chequers Deal.
Jeremy Hunt – 10/1 odds
The foreign secretary, 52, campaigner for Remain in the 2016 referendum but has since said he has changed his mind over ‘arrogance’ shown by the EU during negotiations.
Speaking at the Haslemere Festival in his West Surrey constituency he politely said he didn’t want to overshadow Theresa May’s emotional day but basically said he’d be running.
He told the Farnham Herald: ‘I’ll make the announcement on my own candidacy at the appropriate time.
‘I think this is a day to remember Theresa May and her duty, her sense of public service, the fact that she has done an incredibly difficult job with enormous integrity, and I think that’s what people up and down the county will be thinking today.’
The former Health Secretary is believed to be pitching himself as a candidate who can build bridges within the party which is significantly divided over Brexit.
Rory Stewart – 20/1 odds
The new International Development Secretary Rory Stewart launched his leadership bid in an interview with The Spectator last month.
He supported remain in 2016 and is backing a soft-Brexit and has urged his party to appeal to a wide base rather than ‘out-do Nigel Farage’.
The MP for Penrith and The Border is known for pledging to resign as a prison minister if he couldn’t get a grip on the surge of drugs and violence in UK jails.
He once walked 6,000 miles from Turkey to Bangladesh including a traverse of Tabliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Mr Stewart, 46, was an environment minister in David Cameron’s government and served in the Black Watch as a Foreign Office diplomat.
Matt Hancock – 25/1 odds
The Health Secretary has become the latest person to declare his leadership ambitions.
He told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme this morning: ‘I’m going to run to be the next Prime Minister because I believe from the bottom of my heart that we need a leader for the future, not just for now.
‘Of course we’ve got to deliver Brexit and I will, but we need to win the argument for free enterprise and a free society and so all the other things we need to do to make this country a great place to live.
‘And that issue of the future risks being lost in a discussion just about the details of the Brexit deal, which of course is vital but there are so many other things we need to do.’
The MP for West Suffolk, 40, is the youngest contender so far and has called for the party to try and appeal to younger voters.
He was mocked in his previous role as digital, culture, media and sport secretary when he became the first MP to launch their own app.
Known for being close to George Osborne and David Cameron, he has said the new leader should put the Tories ‘four square in the centre ground’.
Esther McVey – 66/1 odds
The former Work and Pensions secretary, 51, announced her leadership bid yesterday while hosting a radio call-in on LBC radio.
She said: ‘I’ll put my hands up here, I better declare an interest straight away. I have put myself forward as a future leader.’
The Brexiteer quit her cabinet position in November over how the Government was handling talks with the EU.
The MP for Tatton says the next leader should be someone who ‘believes in Brexit’ and is expected to pitch herself as a right-wing, blue collar candidate.
The former television presenter told listeners on Friday that the UK should be prepared to leave the EU without a deal.
With a question mark hanging over Theresa May’s authority for some time before her announcement yesterday, speculation over a future leader has been mounting for some time.
These are some of the other people who’ve been tipped as future Prime Minister and this why only the Conservative Party’s 124,000 members will have a say.
It’s been a tough three years for Mrs May as Prime Minister who had tears streaming down her face as she announced her last day in office will be June 7.
Here are some highlights of her political career in pictures and videos including her scandalous revelation of the naughtiest thing she’s ever done.
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