FOCUS: If U.K. PM May Resigns, Who Could Replace Her?

LONDON (Reuters) —
A municipal worker sweeps the street outside Number 10 Downing Street, in London, Friday. (Reuters/Hannah McKay)

British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to win a majority in a national election on Friday, calling her future as leader of the Conservative Party into question.

Below are some of the candidates who could run if May stepped down:


Davis, plucked from political wilderness by May to lead Britain’s Brexit policy, has run in two previous leadership contests. A long-time euroskeptic, he is seen as an experienced political operator who used his time out of government to campaign against the erosion of civil liberties.


A long-serving Cabinet minister, Hammond was appointed finance minister by PM May in 2016. If she had won a large majority, local media suggested he could have been sacked after clashing with her advisers over policy, and other senior Cabinet ministers after he pushed for a softer approach to Brexit talks to protect the financial industry.


Ms. Rudd was promoted to lead the Interior Ministry after Theresa May became prime minister last year, moving from the Department for Energy and Climate Change. She is seen as a close ally of PM May’s and was used during the election as a spokeswoman, including during a debate in which PM May refused to participate.

She has led Britain’s response to three major terror attacks in recent months.


Johnson is one of the most recognizable figures in British politics thanks to his shock of platinum blonde hair and colorful turn of phrase – attributes that made him a key asset for the Brexit campaign during last year’s EU referendum.

A two-term mayor of London, former journalist and currently foreign secretary, Johnson was favorite to replace David Cameron after the Brexit vote before ally Michael Gove decided to run instead, scuppering his leadership bid.


Fox stood for the leadership of the Conservatives in 2005 and 2016. He was appointed defense secretary in 2010 but was forced to resign a year later after letting an unauthorized aide access ministerial meetings. A prominent euroskeptic, he was rehabilitated by PM May, who appointed him to lead Britain’s push for new trading relationships after Brexit.


Morgan was one of a handful of Conservatives to rebel against PM May’s vision of Brexit, arguing in favor of remaining in the EU’s single market. She has held different ministerial roles including as education minister. She was mooted as a possible successor to David Cameron in 2016, but ended up backing Michael Gove.


A prominent Brexiteer during the EU referendum, Gove failed in a 2016 bid to lead the party when his decision to abandon Boris Johnson and run himself was viewed as treachery by some fellow lawmakers.

He led sweeping reforms of Britain’s education and justice departments under Cameron, but was overlooked for a senior role when Theresa May took over. A former journalist, he interviewed Donald Trump days before he was sworn in as U.S. president.


Patel was part of the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, and has served in ministerial roles since being elected to Parliament in 2010. She has worked in the Finance Ministry and most recently as a member of the Cabinet, heading up the international development department.

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