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Who is running to be the next UK PM and how will they be chosen

London: Liz Truss has quit as the UK’s Prime Minister after just 44 days in office.

Now the jostling begins as her many rivals battle to replace her in a contest expected to last one week in a vote that could be decided by members.

The result will be known on Friday, October 28 and the winner will become King Charles III’s second prime minister.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the Proclamation of Accession of King Charles III following the Accession Council ceremony at St James’s Palace, London in September.Credit:PA

This contest will also see fewer candidates with the threshold for nominating raised to 100 nominations, meaning a total three can stand, based on the number of sitting Conservative MPs.

This heaps pressure on MPs to unite around a single candidate or unity ticket to avoid going to another members’ vote, like the one that delivered Truss.

But the MPs are divided over factional issues, animosities dating back to Brexit and of course plain old ego which is why no candidate stands out as immediate heir.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson could seek his old job back.

The arguments in his favour could be persuasive, as Kevin Rudd found in 2013 when he was reinstated after years of wearing down support for Julia Gillard, who in turn made a series of unforced errors that saw her public and eventually internal support collapse.

Johnson is a known vote-winner and the best campaigner the Conservatives have seen in modern times.

But a series of scandals during his time as prime minister means any second go comes with baggage that didn’t exist when he displaced Theresa May and delivered the government an 80-seat majority in 2019 with a promise to Get Brexit Done.

Johnson is by far the most known figure in the public but there is still an outstanding issue from the partygate scandal. That has triggered a House of Commons’ investigation by the Privileges committee into whether Johnson deliberately misled the House.

Even MPs who support Boris believe this could be a barrier and would have preferred Truss’ downfall to come in December, by when the report is expected to have been handed down.

Johnson is no shoo-in though. Remember scores of ministers quit his cabinet over his chaotic governance style just a few months ago and some MPs have even said they will quit rather than work under him again.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak seems the obvious and logical choice. He was the chancellor of the exchequer and so has governing experience at the second-highest level, plus everything he predicted would happen under a Truss premiership came true, so he comes out vindicated.

Rishi Sunak addressing the Conservative Party in August.Credit:AP

But a huge section of the party, Johnsonsites and other right-wingers, fear his ascendency will see the re-elevation of figures like Dominic Cummings, former whip and cabinet minister Gavin Williamson and Michael Gove.

He is still accused by many Johnsonites of stabbing Johnson in the back. However, Sunak won the MPs’ votes every ballot last time around so would be in pole position to start out with 100 votes this time around.

Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt who came third in the MPs’ ballots, just behind Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss last time, is also likely to run.

Her campaign social media account tweeted just minutes after Truss resigned outside Number 10 that it was “make or break time” and that “only Penny can win us the next general election.”

There are fears that Mordaunt could turn out to be a Truss-lite, that is a weak performer under pressure, but she has put in some solid appearances as Leader of the House of Commons and comes with considerable support from MPs.

The Wild Cards:

Kemi Badenoch impressed MPs and members when she ran in the last contest and emerged as the darling of the right.

However, she had no cabinet experience and was considered too green to be installed as prime minister.

A wildcard in the running to the Britain’s new PM: Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch.Credit:AP

She was appointed to cabinet under Truss as trade minister but the short stint may not be enough for a party rattled by how badly it went under Truss.

There’s a desire for a safe pair of hands. It’s worth pointing out that Truss had plenty of cabinet experience and that didn’t help her govern any better.

Badenoch would be the Conservatives’ fourth female leader and the first who is black which Tories believe would be a powerful antidote against Labour leader Keir Starmer. But her brand is associated with fighting the left on culture wars and she may not have had the time to round herself out as a candidate capable of appealing to the public on a variety of issues.

Suella Braverman also did well in the leadership contest and has the backing of the Brexiteers. She would be battling Badenoch for the same pool of voters so it’s likely it would be one or the other that nominates.

Brandon Lewis has been a cabinet minister for years and is considered a safe pair of hands, if not slightly dour and dull.

The candidates will nominate on Monday.

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