The Tory leadership is well and truly underway after Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation week last week.
After a tumultuous three years as Prime Minister, May took on the challenge of delivering Brexit, a task which many had deemed a ‘poison chalice’.
Despite various setbacks, including a reduced majority after the 2017 election, a vote of no confidence and a series of cabinet resignations, the Prime Minister refused to back down.
However, in the end, she has eventually gave in to mounting pressure from the party, agreeing to step aside to allow for a new leader to emerge.
So, who is in the running to succeed May to become Tory leader?
Arguably the frontrunner, it has been no secret that Boris Johnson has harboured ambitions to take the reigns at No.10 for quite some time.
After a failed leadership bid in 2016, Johnson has been a vocal critic of the government despite his time in Theresa May’s cabinet as Foreign Secretary.
Former Johnson ally and ardent Brexit supporter, Michael Gove has also thrown his hat into the ring of a particularly crowded leadership race.
Michael Gove has held various cabinet positions, including his role as Environment Secretary.
Famously, Gove dashed the hopes of Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016, when he spoke out about his candidacy.
Often regarded as a safe pair of hands, Jeremy Hunt holds the title of the longest serving Health Secretary.
Nevertheless, there is some residual public distrust over his controversial decision to impose a junior doctor’s contract, which led to mass strikes at the time.
Hunt currently holds the post of Foreign Secretary, having succeeded Boris Johnson.
Another contender is Dominic Raab. Formerly the government’s Brexit secretary, he resigned amid disagreements over the Prime Minister’s withdrawal deal.
Raab campaigned in favour of leave in the run-up to the EU referendum, favouring a pivot towards trading with other markets such as Asia and Latin America.
However, his campaign has already got of to a shaky start, after he was forced to defend comments he made in 2011, in which he called feminists ‘obnoxious bigots’.
At 40 years old, he is the youngest contender in the running – thus far.
Hancock has been a member of the Conservatives since 1999 and has held numerous ministerial posts, including his current role as Health Secretary as well as Energy Secretary and the minister for Digital and Culture.
One of only two women in the race, McVey is also one of the least experienced having held one ministerial post as the Secretary for Work and Pensions.
Prior to her role as MP for Tatton, McVey was a journalist and co-presenter alongside Eamonn Holmes for GMTV.
McVey recently launched the Blue Collar Conservatism Group, a movement designed with the aim of reconnecting the party with working people.
Having previously run back in 2016, Leadsom will be keen to build upon momentum from her previous bid.
Leadsom recently resigned from her role as Leader of the Commons, confirming her bid on Sunday.
She supported Brexit back in 2016, and has said she will be a “decisive and compassionate leader”.
Rory Stewart is the current International Development Secretary, having taken over from Gavin Williamson, after he was dismissed in connection to the Huawei national security leak.
Eton educated and a former tutor to Prince William and Harry, Stewart may have difficulties connecting with a wide support base, representing much of the ‘establishment’.
Nonetheless, Stewart has pledged to ‘tackle Britain’s everyday injustices’, as he launched his campaign to become PM.
Last but not least, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has also recently confirmed his bid.
Javid has already taken to twitter to announced his candidacy, pledging to unite and bring opportunities across the UK.
I’m standing to be the next leader of @Conservatives & Prime Minister of our great country. We need to restore trust, bring unity and create new opportunities across the UK. First and foremost, we must deliver Brexit. Join @TeamSaj to help me do just that #TeamSaj pic.twitter.com/qfH1lLNusQ
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) 27 May 2019
Javid will be facing criticism over his handling rising knife crime in London, with a record number of offences in the capital in 2018.
Opinions are also divided over Javid’s tough stance on Shamima Begum, an ISIS bride whom he stripped of her UK citizenship back in March.