Conservative

It has proved a busy week for the Tory party and Westminster, with various Conservative leadership hopefuls launching their official campaigns.

So, what have some of the key contenders promised thus far?

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is widely considered the favourite to succeed May, with an estimated 79 MPs backing him so far.

This means the former Foreign Secretary has more than enough support to succeed to the next round of the race.

After weeks of uncharacteristic silence from Johnson, who is well known for his often superfluous use of language, he finally launched his campaign on Wednesday.

Earlier this week Johnson’s camp unveiled his first policy – tax breaks for high earners – which has garnered a rather flat reception, and raised questions over the Eton alumni’s priorities.

At Wednesday’s speech, Johnson was keen to projected a more considered and statesman-like image, with a prepared and measured speech.

Whilst vague on details, Johnson said that he thinks that the country must prepare for a no-deal, however it is not something he would be aiming for.

He did however pledge to take the UK out of the EU by the 31st October deadline.

Jeremy Hunt

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also launched his bid to become Conservative leader this week.

He was heavily criticised over the weekend after Hunt said he was in favour of a shortened abortion termination limit.

Nevertheless, Hunt has since secured the backing of some heavy hitters such as Amber Rudd and Penny Mordaunt, who both introduced Hunt at his lunch.

Despite campaigning in flavour of Remain in the referendum, Hunt pledged to deliver Brexit, and securing the backing of Mordaunt, an ardent leaver, will no doubt bolster the credibility of this claim.

In addition, Hunt committed to abolishing illiteracy and increasing defence spending.

Michael Gove

Despite early momentum, Gove’s campaign was almost derailed on the weekend after the Former Education Secretary admitted to cocaine use.

However, Gove attempted to bounce back this week insisting that he was “in it to win it”.

Among many of his policy proposals, Gove said he would abolish business rates for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

He also took aim at rival Johnson’s tax cut plans, stating:

“One thing I will never do as prime minister is to use our tax and benefits system to give the already wealthy another tax cut.”

Despite various veiled digs aimed at former ally Johnson, Gove was careful not to mention his opponent by name.

With respect to Brexit, Gove said that whilst he would aim for a 31 October exit from the EU, he would not hesitate to extend the deadline if it proved necessary.

He also criticised current leader Theresa May for triggering the Article 50 process too soon. Famously, Gove was seen as one of the key figure in the VoteLeave campaign.

Dominic Raab

With the support of some 23 MPs thus far, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is also considered to be a key contender.

As an ardent Brexiteer, he will appeal to the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party, and perhaps more crucially, the growing support base of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

At his launch, Raab said he would prioritise tax cuts for lower paid workers, perhaps alluding to Boris Johnson’s much criticised tax cut policy.

He also took aim at the Hunt campaign, stating that he would not change the time limit on abortion. However, Raab has also openly stated that he is “probably not” a feminst.

Regarding Brexit, Raab said he would not rule out suspending parliament.

Sajid Javid 

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is set to officially launch his campaign later today.

Thus far Javid has focused his campaign message on family and on delivering Brexit.

He has also pledged to make UK schools “the envy of the world”.

Thus far, he has secured the backing of Conservatives MPs such as Caroline Nokes and former 2016 leadership hopeful Stephen Crabb.

Rory Stewart

Perhaps not seen as a frontrunner in terms of numbers, Stewart has however been dominating the media in recent weeks, making him worth a mention.

This is perhaps thanks to his social media presence and his #RoryWalks strategy, which has gained him many fans.

At his launch, Stewart criticised the “fairy stories” of his opponents.

Stewart is one of the few Conservative leadership contenders that has openly rejected the idea of a no-deal Brexit.

He also took to highlighting the need to bolster public services as well as defence and security.

What next?

The first ballot of the leadership race will take place on the 13th of June. The 10 candidates will then be narrowed down after a series of party hustings.

The Conservative party are expected to decide on its new leader and the next Prime Minister by the 22nd of July.