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Latest odds: Who will replace Boris Johnson as prime minister?

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·5-min read
Odds are that Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt or Ben Wallace will replace Boris Johnson, according to the bookies. Photo: Getty
Odds are that Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt or Ben Wallace will replace Boris Johnson, according to the bookies. Photo: Getty

The UK government has collapsed as Boris Johnson was rejected by his own MPs after months of one scandal after another.

With his premiership over, betting firms are readying themselves for the race to succeed him. Here we look at the latest odds from BetFair Exchange on the runners and riders for Johnson’s full-time replacement.

Ben Wallace - 13/2

The defence secretary is tipped as the favourite successor across the bookies. Wallace has been a key voice in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and this increased exposure has given his popularity a boost.

A YouGov snap poll asked 716 Conservative members who they would vote for and in all scenarios, Wallace won by a significant margin.

The former army captain on Wednesday called the mass resignations in protest of Johnson’s leadership “political parlour games”.

He began his political career as a member of Scotland's devolved assembly in May 1999, before being first elected to the Westminster parliament in 2005.

He supported remaining in the EU ahead of the referendum.

Penny Mordaunt – 5/1

Penny Mordaunt, the most popular contender not to hold a cabinet position under Johnson, has emerged as a firm favourite among the Tory faithful.

The former defence secretary was sacked by Johnson when he became prime minister after she endorsed his rival, Hunt, during the last leadership contest.

Read more: Boris Johnson resignation: Who's in charge of the UK economy now?

She has been one of the more forthright ministers when it comes to criticising the PM over Partygate. Currently a junior trade minister, Mordaunt had previously expressed loyalty to Johnson.

She is a staunch supporter of Brexit.

Rishi Sunak – 6/1

The former chancellor made the bold move of quitting the cabinet, in starting an avalanche of ministerial resignations and cabinet walkouts that ended Boris Johnson’s premiership. However, Sajid Javid did beat him to the button by 9 minutes.

In his resignation letter Sunak accused the prime minister of failing to act “properly, competently and seriously”.

Long regarded as a favourite to replace Johnson, he had built a strong public profile through his press conferences explaining the COVID support schemes, winning him credit for swift action to keep families and businesses afloat.

However, his popularity took a hit in April when it was revealed his multimillionaire wife, Akshata Murty, had been claiming non-dom status, allowing her to avoid paying UK tax on foreign earnings.

Sajid Javid – 9/1

He effectively fired the starting gun on the premiership race by having the political nerve to jump first with his resignation on Tuesday evening.

The former Health Secretary said the government was no longer seen to be “competent in acting in the national interest” after a string of scandals.

An experienced politician, having previously served as chancellor, home secretary, housing secretary, and secretary for Culture, Media and Sport he delivered a lacklustre performance in the 2019 Tory leadership race.

The son of Pakistani Muslim immigrant parents, he is a Thatcher admirer and finished fourth in the 2019 leadership contest to replace former prime minister Theresa May.

Javid supported remaining in the EU "with a heavy heart and no enthusiasm", saying he feared the fallout from a leave vote would add to economic turbulence.

Liz Truss – 8/1

Truss has served as foreign secretary for just under a year, and also declined to resign.

She said on Monday that Johnson had her "100% backing" and she urged colleagues to support him.

She was in fourth place – with a considerable gap between her and Wallace – in this week’s YouGov poll of who Tory party members want to see as their new leader.

Read more: Pound rises on Boris Johnson resignation

The 46-year-old initially campaigned against Brexit but, after the referendum, said she had changed her mind.

Truss has had a campaign team in place for some time and has been busy building her public persona. Examples include channelling Margaret Thatcher by wearing a headscarf while driving a tank last year.

Nadhim Zahawi – 10/1

If Javid and Sunak’s resignations started the avalanche, some might argue that Zahawi’s call for the prime minister to go 24 hours after being named the new chancellor, buried Johnson’s premiership.

He publicly said he had told the prime minister to “leave with dignity”, adding “ I am heartbroken that he hasn’t listened and that he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this Government at this late hour.”

Zahawi was previously education secretary and was vaccines minister for the bulk of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, his hopes may have been fatally undermined by his decision to take on Sunak’s job as chancellor and previous criticism around his wealth and former business dealings in oil and gas.

Jeremy Hunt – 13/1

The former foreign secretary, 55, finished second to Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest.

Despite long enjoying a profile as the bookies’ favourite to replace Johnson, the former health secretary’s odds have lengthened.

Read more: FTSE rises as Boris Johnson resigns as prime minister

Hunt was among the big names that led the calls for Johnson to go ahead of last month’s vote of no confidence.

Earlier this year, he said his ambition to become prime minister "hasn't completely vanished".

Hunt aligns himself more closely with the centre of the Conservative party, having campaigned in support of Remain in the Brexit referendum.

A new Tory leader is set to be in place by the party conference in October, as leadership elections will take a number of weeks.

Watch: Boris Johnson's leadership: A timeline