Contenders vying to succeed Johnson as next UK leader
LONDON (AP) — A crowded field of contenders is vying to replace Boris Johnson as the next Conservative Party leader and British prime minister.
A look at the 11 people who have thrown their hats into the ring:
RISHI SUNAK, FORMER TREASURY CHIEF
Sunak, 42, is the best-known of the Conservatives’ leadership contenders and a bookmakers’ favorite to succeed Johnson.
He became a household name after becoming Treasury chief in 2020, handing out billions of pounds to help businesses and workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
But he has faced criticism for not doing enough to ease the growing cost-of-living crisis. His popularity also took a dive after he was fined by police for attending one of the lockdown-flouting parties at Downing Street.
LIZ TRUSS, FOREIGN SECRETARY
Truss, 46, took on the high-profile Cabinet post in September after serving as trade minister. She is also the U.K.’s lead negotiator with the European Union on issues following Brexit.
Truss, who is popular with many Conservatives, said she wants to cut tax “from day one” and reverse an income tax hike.
PENNY MORDAUNT, TRADE MINISTER
Mordaunt, 49, is regarded by bookmakers as a party favorite to win.
She was the first woman to serve as U.K. defense secretary, though she was dismissed by Johnson shortly after he became prime minister in 2019 because she had backed another candidate, Jeremy Hunt.
Mordaunt, a former reality TV contestant, played a prominent role in the pro-Brexit campaign in 2016.
SAJID JAVID, FORMER HEALTH SECRETARY
Javid, 52, has wide experience in government having held the posts of health secretary, Treasury chief and home secretary as well as leading departments for business, culture and housing.
The son of a bus driver who arrived in England from Pakistan, Javid made it to the final four in the contest to replace Theresa May as Tory leader in 2019.
NADHIM ZAHAWI, TREASURY CHIEF
Zahawi, 55, came to prominence as vaccine minister during the pandemic. A co-founder of the market research firm YouGov, Zahawi was elected to Parliament in 2010.
He was born in Iraq to a Kurdish family and came to the U.K. as a child when his parents fled Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
GRANT SHAPPS, TRANSPORT SECRETARY
Shapps, 53, was a Johnson loyalist. He has served as Cabinet minister under both Johnson and his predecessor David Cameron, and was co-chairman of the Conservative Party from 2012 to 2015.
Like many others in the contest, he has also pledged to curb taxes.
JEREMY HUNT, FORMER CABINET MINISTER
Hunt, who has served as both health and foreign secretary, ran against Johnson in the 2019 leadership race. He lost heavily, and was dumped from the Cabinet.
Hunt, 55, has remained a lawmaker and kept himself in the public eye by grilling the government’s pandemic policies as head of Parliament’s Health and Social Care Select Committee.
TOM TUGENDHAT, COMMONS FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIR
Tugendhat, a 48-year-old lawmaker and former soldier, has never served in government but heads the influential foreign affairs committee in Parliament. He is seen as a centrist and has billed his candidacy as a clean start.
He said he is consulting a “broad coalition” of colleagues to bridge the divides in government.
SUELLA BRAVERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL
Braverman is a lawmaker and barrister who became England’s attorney general in 2020.
A euroskeptic and Brexiteer, Braverman, 42, says she wants to deliver “all of the great opportunities of Brexit” — including a tougher line on immigration and leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.
KEMI BADENOCH, FORMER EQUALITIES MINISTER
Badenoch, a former banker, says she wants to lower taxes and lead a “limited government focused on essentials”.
The 42-year-old lawmaker was considered an outsider for the race, but her profile has been boosted by an endorsement from party heavyweight Michael Gove.
REHMAN CHISHTI, FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER
Chishti, a former lawyer, is the least known of the contenders.
Born in Pakistan, he has an unusual political background, having previously stood as a candidate for the opposition Labour Party in the 2005 general election. The 43-year-old joined the Conservatives in 2007.
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