Contenders jockeying to replace May

British Prime Minister Theresa May tearfully delivers a statement on her resignation. (Reuters/Simon Dawson)

British Prime Minister Theresa May tearfully delivers a statement on her resignation. (Reuters/Simon Dawson)

The race to replace Theresa May as British prime minister in a contest due to end in July already has nine contenders.

Here is a look at the hopefuls:

Boris Johnson

A former mayor of London, “Boris” or “BoJo”, says he would get Britain out of the European Union “deal or no deal”.

A key figure in the 2016 Brexit campaign, he served as foreign minister afterwards but resigned after falling out over the government’s Brexit strategy.

Charismatic and popular with grassroots Conservatives, the 54-year-old has maintained his public profile by writing a weekly column in The Daily Telegraph.

Jeremy Hunt

The foreign minister supported remaining in the European Union in the 2016 referendum but has switched since then.

A former businessman who speaks fluent Japanese, he is a resilient politician, having headed up the National Health Service for six years during a funding crisis.

The 52-year-old has said he will push hard for a new deal with Brussels without taking the possibility of a no-deal outcome off the table.

Dominic Raab

An ardent eurosceptic with a black belt in karate, the 45-year-old former Brexit minister resigned in protest at the Brexit deal struck with the EU by May.

He says Britain should be ready to walk away from the EU without an agreement while still trying to negotiate a better deal that the one May signed.

Britain must “calmly demonstrate unflinching resolve to leave when the extension to negotiations end in October — at the latest”, Raab wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

Michael Gove

Brexit campaigner Gove initially supported Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016. His last-minute decision to enter the race himself caused both men to lose out to May.

After a year in the political wilderness, he was appointed environment minister in 2017 and has stayed in the headlines with a series of eco-friendly policy announcements.

The cerebral 51-year-old is among the most ardent eurosceptics left in May’s government but is seen as a possible unifying figure between the two wings of the party.

Andrea Leadsom

Former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, who lost out to May in the 2016 contest to replace Cameron, stole a march on her rivals by quitting her cabinet position last Wednesday, hastening the prime minister’s demise and staking out her pro-Brexit credentials.

She got down to the final two in the 2016 race, but pulled out before the decision was handed over to party members, with whom she was popular, after coming under fire for saying that being a mother would give her an advantage as prime minister over childless May.

Matt Hancock

The 40-year-old health secretary is one the party’s rising stars, a moderate who is widely seen as competent at his job and skilful at handling the media.

He is one of several ministers who opposed Brexit during the 2016 referendum before switching sides and defending the withdrawal agreement May struck with the EU

Sajid Javid

A former investment banker and the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver, the 49-year-old Javid is the face of a modern, multicultural and meritocratic Britain.

On the economically liberal wing of the Conservative Party, Javid voted for Britain to stay in the EU in 2016 but has since become an advocate of Brexit.

He declared his candidacy on Monday, promising to “deliver Brexit” after repeated delays.

Others 

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart is a former Foreign Office official who served in the coalition administration in Iraq following the US-led invasion in 2003.

Esther McVey, a Brexit supporter and former TV presenter, McVey resigned from the government last year in protest against a compromise Brexit deal struck with the EU.

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Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson is an experienced and versatile journalist, specialised in reporting and writing, currently based in London, U.K., working for AFP.He regularly reported for the Wall Street Journal, Time and the New York Daily News, and contributed to the New York Times, the Guardian, Newsweek, AFP & Al Jazeera English, among others. He graduated in digital media from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and in politics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
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