Boris Johnson Resigns: Who Will Be the Next British Prime Minister? Here Are the Probable Contenders

Johnson so long had rejected requests from his Cabinet to resign in the aftermath of major ethics scandals but finally placed his resignation on Thursday afternoon.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally resigned on Thursday, ending days of a political crisis that saw more than 50 MPs resigning over the past few days, asking him to go. This also marks the end of his three-year reign marred in controversy.

Speaking in front of 10 Downing Street, Johnson said "it is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader and a new prime minister." Earlier in the day, Johnson conceded defeat 30 minutes after Nadhim Zahawi, the finance minister who had just been appointed on Tuesday night following Rishi Sunak's departure, made a ground-breaking intervention.

End of the Road

Johnson's departure follows one of the largest uprisings in British political history. Johnson so long had rejected requests from his Cabinet to resign in the aftermath of major ethics scandals but finally placed his resignation on Thursday afternoon.

"The process of that should begin now. the timetable should be announced next week. I want to say to the millions of people that voted for us in 2019, thank you for that incredible mandate," he said in his resignation speech.

Boris Johnson resigns
Boris Johnson announcing his resignation as the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street Twitter

The scandal-ridden Prime Minister also acknowledged that there would be members of the public "who are relieved and quite a few will also be disappointed."

However, he said that herd mentality was ultimately to blame for his dismissal from Downing Street.

"As we have seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves and my friends in politics no one is remotely indispensable and our brilliant Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times," he said.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson resigning Twitter

The prime minister decided to resign following a spate of scandals that included the "Partygate" lockdown scandal, the cost-of-living problem, and sexual misconduct allegations against members of his top leadership, which damaged public confidence in his leadership.

Last Hours

Earlier on Thursday, Johnson was visited by a number of his closest Cabinet allies on Wednesday, warning him that he had lost the confidence of his party and should step down. Johnson, however, decided to fight for his political career and fired Michael Gove, one of his most trusted lieutenants from the Cabinet.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson Wikimedia commons

However, a prime minister rarely manages to maintain his position in the face of such intense pressure from his Cabinet counterparts, particularly when around 60 Conservative MPs, many of whom are currently serving as Ministers, resigned in protest at the PM's weakened position as leader, which has deteriorated since the Chris Pincher incident.

But by Thursday morning, Johnson, who had developed a reputation for dodging political controversies, had to face the reality of his situation.

Who Will Replace Johnson?

Thousands march on UK parliament in anti-government protest

Johnson's resignation also marks the beginning of a new battle, that of who will succeed succeeding him as British Prime Minister and head of the Tories. Johnson, who took office in 2019, will remain as the British leader until a successor is appointed, which could be until fall if his party lets him.

Everyone in the race to replace him has his or her their plus and minuses.

Suella Braverman, the attorney general, became the first Conservative to declare her candidacy for party leadership today. However, there is a long list of contenders for the post. The nominations of Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, and Jeremy Hunt are also expected.

According to a survey conducted by Sun that involved over 1,000 of its readers, Rishi Sunak is leading in the race. Sunak received 36.66 percent of the votes.

Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor, 42, who was once a leader-in-waiting, took a hit when it was discovered that his wife was a non-dom. Also, the party's grassroots is dissatisfied with the housing problem and has broad support for Covid funding.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak Twitter

Ben Wallace came in second with 21.92 percent of the vote. Wallace gained popularity as a cabinet minister with Tories after serving as a reliable Defense Secretary during the battles in Afghanistan and Ukraine. Many also believe that the 47-year-old decorated ex-Army officer is the right person steady the ship.

Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace Twitter

Liz Truss received 14.49 percent of the vote to be placed in the third position. The 46-year-old, fiercely ambitious Foreign Secretary would be viewed favorably by party members as the Thatcherite of tax cuts. Despite having voted to remain in the referendum, she now supports Brexit.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss Twitter

Jeremy Hunt, who had run against Boris earlier, managed to get on 7.24 percent of the votes. In June's vote of confidence, the 55-year-old former secretary of health finally pulled the trigger. According to polling, he would lose to every other candidate in the decisive debate. Brexiteers would be difficult for Remainers to convince.

If the poll is not taken into consideration, there are other major contenders to the post with Penny Mordaunt leading the race.

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt Twitter

Penny Mordaunt: The 49-year-old trade minister and Navy reservist goes down a storm with Tory rank and file. She is currently the second favorite to succeed as prime minister. However, she irritated her coworkers by publicly campaigning during Johnson's several political setbacks.

Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt Twitter

Sajid Javid: Javid was appointed the Health Secretary following Matt Hancock's resignation. He had previously resigned as chancellor in February 2020 after a heated argument with Johnson about one of his employees. After being given the option to remain in the Cabinet following a reshuffle, Javid left the government—but only if he sacked all of his advisors.

Bookmakers are also accepting wagers on potential replacements, with Sunak now holding the national lead.