Liz Truss resigns: Who will be the next Prime Minister?

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Likely contenders for Downing Street

Amid all the plotting and speculation ahead of Liz Truss’s resignation, Tory MPs failed to agree on a “unity” candidate who could take over from her.

The party now has a week to elect a new leader – so who will be in the running? There are several names already being discussed.

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Rishi Sunak, who came second in the leadership contest when LIz Truss won, may be seen as the most obvious successor. He came top in the MPs' poll but proved not so popular with the party members. He is blamed by some for the fall of Boris Johnson. His vast personal wealth and his wife's previous non-dom status may count against him during a cost of living crisis.

Penny Mordaunt, who was ahead of Liz Truss in the first round of voting in the last leadership contest, is another potential contender. Liz Truss made her Leader of the Commons and when she stood in for the Prime Minister in parliament the other day she impressed commentators with her performance. But some say she does not have enough experience to take over in a time of crisis.

Jeremy Hunt, appointed Chancellor just last week after Kwasi Kwarteng had to resign, has already ruled himself out. He has stood for the leadership twice before, first against Boris Johnson and then in this summer's contest, when he was eliminated after the first round of voting. He is already in a vital and powerful role and is due to announce a fiscal plan on October 31.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary who started his political career in the Scottish Parliament, was seen as a favourite to win the leadership if he had stood in the summer, but he decided not to for personal reasons. It's not clear if he will take a different view this time. He is seen as doing a good job in his current role over the war in Ukraine but does not have wide experience in government.

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Suella Braverman, who quit as Home Secretary yesterday, was the first person to announce her candidacy in the last contest but was eliminated after the second ballot. She then backed Liz Truss, but fell out with her in the last few weeks over immigration policy. She was Attorney General in Boris Johnson’s government and is an outspoken figure on the right of the party and seen as very ambitious.

Liz Truss announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street . Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireLiz Truss announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street . Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Liz Truss announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street . Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Boris Johnson, who stood down as Prime Minister last month after three years at Number Ten, is still touted by supporters as a possible successor. But having lost the confidence of Tory MPs before, it seems unlikely they will want to restore him to office.