- The final list of candidates to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister has been confirmed by the party.
- Boris Johnson is the current frontrunner to succeed her, with far more support for his leadership among Conservative members – who get the final say – than any other candidate.
- He is joined by the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove and others.
- Conservative MPs will now whittle down the list to two candidates who will be voted on by the wider membership.
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LONDON – The final list of Conservative members of parliament running to replace Theresa May as UK prime minister has been confirmed.
A total of 10 Conservative MPs have been shortlisted, including frontrunner Boris Johnson and cabinet ministers Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove.
Previous contender Sam Gyimah announced on Monday afternoon that he had pulled out of the race, citing lack of support.
The party will now part in a series of votes to whittle down the list to two names, who will then be voted on by the wider party at the end of July.
Here is a full list of candidates, along with their key Brexit plans, as well as the latest odds on their prospects for becoming Britain’s next prime minister
Brexit plan: Johnson says he would take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal on October 31, the UK’s scheduled exit date. The former foreign secretary has said he would threaten to withhold the £39 billion Brexit divorce payment until Brussels offered a better deal, scrap the Northern Irish backstop, and indicated he would sack civil servant Olly Robbins, who led May’s team of Brexit negotiators.
Other policies: Johnson has pledged to cut income tax rates for people earning more than £50,000 a year if he becomes prime minister. He pledged to use money set aside for a no-deal Brexit to raise the 40% tax threshold to £80,000. Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it showed how “out of touch the Tories are.”
Brexit plan: Hunt’s campaign got off to a rocky road when he was accused of flip-flopping in Brexit. The Remain-voting foreign secretary claimed the UK could “flourish and prosper” if it left the EU without a deal only to claim subsequently that it would be “political suicide” for the government to pursue such a strategy.
The foreign secretary has indicated that he would try and renegotiate the prime minister’s Brexit deal. He told Sky News that German chancellor Angela Merkel would be willing to renegotiate the whole deal and the Irish border arrangements opposed by Eurosceptic MPs.
The foreign secretary said Merkel had told him last week that the EU was “willing to negotiate on the package” if a new prime minister had the “right approach.” The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of any new negotiations.
Other policies: Hunt has called for a massive boost in UK defence spending. He suggested in May that the government should double defence spending over the next decade in news that will appeal to Conservative party members. He said: “The threat picture, so dramatically reduced at the end of the cold war, has changed markedly. We are in a multipolar world without the assurance provided by unquestioned American dominance. We face a more aggressive Russia and a more assertive China. We simply do not know what the balance of power in the world will be in 25 years’ time.”
Brexit plan: Leadsom resigned from Theresa May’s government last month in protest at the prime minister’s Brexit strategy. She insists her “very clearly set out” plan to leave the EU is the “only workable” solution on offer.
She pledged first to protect EU citizens’ rights in the UK, then “ramp up preparations for no deal because we have to be ready for the end of October, come what may.”
She said she would lead a delegation of ministers in August to meet key EU allies in a bid to leave with a new deal, but she says the UK must be willing to leave without one.
Brexit plan: Gove has pledged to renegotiate May’s deal to ensure “a full stop to the backstop” as well as a Canada-style free trade agreement with the EU. Theresa May tried and repeatedly failed to secure such concessions from the EU, which insists that there will be no further negotiations. The environment secretary also said he would be willing to extend the October 31 Brexit deadline to avoid leaving with no deal.
Other policies: Gove pledged to scrap VAT, which was introduced when Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973 and replace it with a “lower, simples sales tax.” VAT raised £132 billion in 2018/19. He criticised Boris Johnson’s plan to cut taxes, saying wealthy plans didn’t need tax breaks.
Brexit plan: The Home Secretary has said he would be willing to leave the EU in October “with or without a deal.”
Javid said he had “done his homework” on Brexit and would find a technological solution for the Irish border which would make the backstop policy unnecessary. Experts have repeatedly warned that such technology will not be ready for years.
“You don’t need a magic solution for this, the solution exists,” he told ITV News.
“We’ve done the homework on this.”
“I will change the dynamic and I will do that by offering the money to pay for the border.
“It is justified that we do that because, economically, if that unlocks a deal we will have a mini economic boom in this country if we get a deal and that will pay for that.”
Other policies: In stark contrast to candidates who have promised to slash taxes, Javid has pledged a multi-billion pound spending spree which he would fund by slowing down the rate of deficit reduction. He said his priority would be increasing education spending.
Brexit plan: Stewart is the only leadership candidate who still backs Theresa May’s deal, saying he would focus on winning support for the current prime minister’s plan to leave with a deal on October 31. He ruled out leaving with no deal and said candidates who claimed they could negotiate a new deal by October were “misleading.”
He has also warned that fellow contender Boris Johnson is “poisoning our politics” by trying to “out-Farage” Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party.
Brexit plan: Raab has gone further than most of his rivals by threatening to suspend parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
He said the UK needed to keep the threat of no deal on the table to force Brussels to offer the UK a better deal.
“I’m the Brexiteer you can rely on,” he said.
“We won’t be taken seriously in Brussels unless we’re willing to walk away on WTO terms.”
Other policies: Raab pledged to hike the National Insurance threshold to fund pay rises for lower paid workers when he started his campaign, promising to “take the lowest paid out of payroll taxes altogether.” He also wants to cut a penny of income tax for every earner.
In a swipe at Boris Johnson’s plan to cut taxes for higher earners, he said: “My tax cuts are for the very poorest in work.”
Brexit plan: McVey launched her leadership campaign with a bid to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal. She and Dominic Raab are the only candidates who have indicated they would suspend parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit in October, claiming that Remain supporters had used “every trick in the book” to stop Brexit and that Leavers must do the same.
Other policies: McVey wants to cut £7 billion from the UK’s foreign aid budget and spend the money in police and schools.
Brexit plan: The former Tory chief whip confirmed his nomination on Twitter ahead of the official announcement on Monday evening.
Harper voted to Remain in the EU but says he accepts the referendum result. He called for a “short, focused” extension to renegotiate Theresa May’s Brexit plan but said he would be willing to leave with no deal if that was not possible.
He claimed that sticking to an October 31 Brexit date could embolden Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party even further.
Other policies: He is expected to announce further this week.
Brexit plan: Hancock has published a five-point plan for renegotiating Theresa May’s Brexit deal which includes removing the Irish backstop. The health secretary claims that his plan for Brexit has been received well by figures in Brussels, although he declined to name any of their names. Theresa May repeatedly sought such assurances on the Irish backstop without any success.
He has said a no-deal Brexit is “not available.
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