Battle for Downing Street: Sunak and Mordaunt fight to be PM in supremacy duel

Boris Johnson appears to threaten a general election

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The collection of characters waiting to replace Boris Johnson have a wide variety of backgrounds but there is no obvious candidate to take up residency at Number 10 Downing Street. Currently the bookies’ favourites are Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak but in a volatile market this can rapidly change.

Penny Mordaunt 4/1

The international trade minister started her working life as a magician’s assistant but the question is whether she can cast a spell on Conservative MPs to back her in a leadership contest?

Ms Mordaunt fell out of favour with Mr Johnson for backing his rival Jeremy Hunt in the last leadership and was demoted outside the Cabinet.

But she is a former defence secretary and has shown some sparkle in the International Trade department.

Many see her as the next generation face to lead the Conservatives.

Rishi Sunak 4/1

As anger grew about his tax rises as Chancellor combined with his wife avoiding the outright favourite to take over from Boris saw his odds slip to 20/1.

But after resigning yesterday as Chancellor he suddenly came back into the contest as equal favourite with Ms Mordaunt.

Mr Sunak was a national hero for his furlough scheme and bailout during lockdown but much less popular once he tried to work out how to pay for it.

Some Tory MPs have not forgiven him for tax rises and have dubbed him the “socialist Chancellor” but he is a young fresh face who is now very much in contention.

Liz Truss 7/1

The Foreign Secretary has been a leading contender since she headed the InternationalTrade department and became the face of the positive story around Brexit.

For some she is not entirely trusted as a former Remainer but has insisted that she was wrong in 2016 and has done more than most to promote Global Britain.

While there has been criticism for sticking with Boris Johnson and not resigning she is a known tax cutter advocate and could win over support.

Ben Wallace 8/1

The former army officer and Defence Secretary is consistantly a popular choice in public and Tory membership polls not last because of his stewardship of the Ministry of Defence and regular demands for more defence spending.

However, he has rarely been outside his comfort zone in terms of jobs and usually been associated with the military.

There are questions over whether he would make a bid or be a running mate for the eventual winner.

Sajid Javid 8/1

Quitting the Boris Johnson government first and making a scarifying resignation speech in Parliament will boost Mr Javid’s ambitions.

He ran in 2019 against Mr Johnson and has now twice resigned on principle from his Government.

A very experienced operator, the son of a bus driver has a strong back story and can make a case that he is the banner bearer of Conservatism.

But doubts remain over what he believes in especially as he was a Remainer in 2016 after initially claiming to be a Brexiteer.

Nadhim Zahawi 10/1

The new Chancellor is seeing his odds rapidly falling even though he decided to stick by Mr Johnson in a crucial moment when others were resigning.

Having made his money as the founder of Yougov, the child immigrant to this country has much to talk about in terms of his life story.

He is seen as very competent and is the man who delivered the vaccines before being promoted to Education Secretary.

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Tom Tugendhat 12/1

Another former army officer, the current chairman of the Foreign Affairs select committee is looking for a leadership bid.

He has been putting a team together for some time and is seen as a centrist fresh face who is not tainted by the Johnson or May governments.

But questions remain over his opposition to Brexit and his lack of ministerial experience.

Jeremy Hunt 12/1

The former Foreign and Health Secretary was Boris Johnson’s run off opponent in 2019 but was easily beaten.

As chairman of the Health Select Committee he annoyed fellow Tory MPs by pushing for more not less lockdown.

Nevertheless he is highly experienced and seen as ultra competent.

The perfect foil to the Boris era.

Priti Patel 33/1

The Home Secretary’s odds have been drifting after a tough time trying to tackle the immigration crisis and the small boats crossing the English Channel.

The Home Office is often seen as a graveyard of political careers although Theresa May managed to become Prime Minister from that department.

Nevertheless, Ms Patel was a Brexit Spartan, one of the few MPs to oppose compromise and remains the darling of the right. She started her career doing communications for Jimmy Goldsmith’s anti-EU Referendum Party.

She would be the one candidate who would be able to make the Conservative Party conservative again and this gives her a chance.

Steve Baker 50/1

The former Brexit minister led the Tory MPs resistance to lockdown and has been a popular figure in the Conservative Party.

He is an outsider and may choose to back former Chief Whip and close friend Mark Harper who is also being quoted at 50/1.

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