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Who's in the running to become the next Prime Minister?

PUBLISHED: 11:26 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 24 May 2019

Will Boris Johnson swap the bike for the Prime Ministerial limo? Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Will Boris Johnson swap the bike for the Prime Ministerial limo? Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

A wide field of possible candidates to take over as Prime Minister has already emerged - including west Suffolk's Matt Hancock - in the wake of Theresa May's resignation announcement.

File photos of (top row left to right) Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart. (middle row left to right) Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Amber Rudd. (bottom row left to right) Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss who are potential candidates in the Tory leadership race. Picture:  PA WireFile photos of (top row left to right) Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart. (middle row left to right) Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Amber Rudd. (bottom row left to right) Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss who are potential candidates in the Tory leadership race. Picture: PA Wire

Many are likely to spend the next few weeks talking to each other to form potential "dream teams" and seeing what support exists out there before ruling themsleves in or out of the leadership race.

It is certain that by June 7 the field will have reduced considerably, but the current potential runners are:

Boris Johnson: The front-runner and only candidate to have already declared himself running. Loved by many party members, but many MPs don't trust him.

For: Instant recognition, seems to be popular in the country.

Against: Not good on detail, an ability to upset people, didn't make a good impression as Foreign Secretary.

Dominic Raab: Former Brexit Secretary (briefly). He is getting support from Brexiteers in Parliament.

For: Considered to be very bright, and can perform well on television.

Against: Not as charismatic as some candidates, seen as quite an inflexible right-winger by moderate MPs.

Jeremy Hunt: Foreign Secretary

For: Safe pair of hands.

Against: Supported remain in referendum. Not inspiring.

Sajid Javid: Home Secretary

For: Support from all sides of the party.

Against: Reluctant remainer in referendum. Few people's first choice.

Matthew Hancock: Health Secretary

For: Hasn't really made many enemies in his current role.

Against: Remainer. Hasn't really got a strong support base.

Michael Gove: Environment Secretary

For: Highly intelligent, strong Brexiteer, has done well at Defra.

Against: Not trusted by Johnson's fans after he turned on him in 2016.

Priti Patel: Former International Development Secretary.

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For: Strong Brexiteer, early critic of Prime Minister.

Against: Questions over judgement which led to her sacking, no strong power base in party.

Esther McVey: Former Work and Pensions Secretary.

For: Strong Brexiteer, resigned from cabinet over the issue.

Agains: What is her USP? What does she offer that others don't?

Amber Rudd: Work and Pensions Secretary

For: Could get support from remain-supporting MPs.

Against: Won't get support from Brexiteers in the party, could lose her seat in next election

Andrea Leadsom: Leader of the House (until Wednesday)

For: Another Brexiteer, knows MPs well from her previous job.

Against: Bottled it after being last challenger standing against Theresa May three years ago.

Elizabeth Truss: Chief Secretary to the Treasury

For: Wants the job, quite strong recognition.

Against: Former Remainer. Much of her recognition comes from tv clip frequently replayed on Have I Got News For You?

Rory Stewart: International Development Secretary

For: Young, good communicator, appeals to the One Nation moderate wing of the party.

Against: Politically inexperienced, the Conservative membership is now dominated by Brexiteers, not One Nation supporters.

In all likelihood, these contenders will be whittled down over the next few days. Mr Johnson, Mr Raab, and Mr Hunt look certain to go on the ballot - but expect people like Ms Patel, Ms Rudd and possibly Mr Stewart to announce their support for one of the other candidates in the hope of getting a big job in his (or, less likely, her) first cabinet.

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