Home Featured Who is running to replace Rishi Sunak? – POLITICO
Who is running to replace Rishi Sunak? – POLITICO

Who is running to replace Rishi Sunak? – POLITICO

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Patel spent the last two years on the backbenches after serving as home secretary when Boris Johnson was in No. 10. A prominent figure on the right, she’s dubbed a “dark horse” of the campaign who can keep the right wing on side while potentially winning over One Nation centrist MPs averse to a harder-right option. Though she danced with Farage at Conservative Party Conference last year, allies were quick to make clear she would not allow him to rejoin the Tories.

Victoria Atkins

The former health secretary would be an outside bet in a leadership race as a One Nation contender. Entering parliament at the same time as Rishi Sunak in 2015, she only joined the Cabinet in November last year as health secretary, where she faced the familiar problem of long waiting lists and junior doctors’ strikes. While a run for office is a possibility, Atkins may judge this contest isn’t the one for her.

Who’s ruled themselves out?

Jeremy Hunt

The former chancellor has already had two shots at the leadership in 2019 and 2022, coming second to Boris Johnson first time around. After narrowly holding his Surrey seat of Godalming and Ash, Hunt confirmed he did not think it was third time lucky: “No … that time has passed,” he told GB News.

Who’s already out of the race?

No Tory who lost their seat at the election can stand — for now. Numerous big beasts including former Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt (who twice ran for the leadership), ex-Defense Secretary Grant Shapps and former Transport Secretary Mark Harper were all defeated. Until they find a constituency to stand in, perhaps in a convenient by-election, they’ll just be a voter in the race rather than a participant.

Ultimate dark horse

Boris Johnson

No Tory leadership race would be complete without mentioning the former PM. While Johnson did wear the crown as prime minister from 2019 to 2022, he’s no longer in parliament, which makes a bid tricky. The rapturous reception he received at a Tory rally just before polling day shows there is still lots of support for him. Might he be persuaded to make a shock return?

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