Tory Leadership race: meet the candidates

June 10, 2019
| Report Focus News

The final candidates for the Tory leadership race have been confirmed, with 10 running to become the next PM.

With today’s deadline laying the foundation for the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, here are the confirmed contenders.

Michael Gove

Environment Secretary Michael Gove officially launched his bid to be Tory leader and Prime Minister on Monday afternoon.

Speaking in the Sky Loft in Millbank Tower, Mr Gove started by thanking his adoptive parents and said he has had the opportunity to work with “two great Prime Ministers”.

Michael Gove launching his leadership campaign (Getty Images)

Mr Gove said that Brexit was an “unashamedly personal” matter for him and said that he would be prepared to delay the October 31 deadline if negotiations with the EU on a new deal were making progress.

In what some perceived as a thinly-veiled dig at Boris Johnson, he said: “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.”

He also urged Mr Johnson to not pull out of the race, saying: “Whatever you do, don’t pull out. I know you have before… but the Conservative Party membership deserve a choice.” 

Mr Gove has pledged to look to replace Value Added Tax (VAT)- a tax levied on goods and services – with a “lower, simpler” sales tax. He has also promised to review competition law and break down barriers to new market entrants.

Boris Johnson

The former foreign secretary, who played a key role in the Vote Leave campaign at the 2016 referendum, is taking part in the leadership race.

On Brexit, he has committed to keeping the October 31 deadline even if that means leaving without a deal and said he would step up no-deal preparations.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson (EPA)

Mr Johnson also said he would refuse to pay the promised £39 billion to the European Union unless better Brexit terms are on offer.

He has pledged to cut income tax for high earners by raising the threshold at which a 40% tax rate kicks in. He has also advocated lower business taxes.

The former foreign secretary has received public backing from MPs such as James Brokenshire, Gavin Williamson and Steve Baker. 

Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom confirmed on Monday afternoon that she has handed in her nomination papers in the leadership race.

She said she will be launching her campaign officially at 9.45am on Tuesday. 

The former leader of the Commons, who ran against Theresa May for the party leadership in 2016, was a prominent member of the Vote Leave campaign.

She has set out a plan to scrap the Withdrawal Agreement and instead “massively ramp up” preparations for a “managed” exit without a full deal.

Andrea Leadsom (AP)

Mrs Leadsom has also promised to tackle climate change at home and abroad and establish a cross-party commission to find a solution to funding social care, and has warned that bold tax-cutting pledges could easily be blocked by Parliament.

She has been backed by MPs Chris Heaton-Harris, Heather Wheeler, and Derek Thomas.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt launched his campaign to become the next Prime Minister as he won the backing of influential Remain supporter Amber Rudd and prominent Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt.

Saying he would be a “serious leader”, Mr Hunt warned that the Tories would be “annihilated” if they fight a general election before delivering Brexit.

(AFP/Getty Images)

He also said his party’s failure to leave the EU has “put our country and our party in grave peril”.

“Without a deal, any Prime Minister who promised to leave by a certain date would have to call a general election to change the parliamentary arithmetic. And that is an election we would lose badly,” he said. 

Mr Hunt says he wants to make Britain the most pro-business country in Europe by reducing corporation tax to 12.5%. Currently the tax is due to fall to 17% in April 2020.

He has also set out education reform as his main social policy ambition, promising more funding for the sector in the hope of ending illiteracy.

Mr Hunt has been backed by MPs Amber Rudd, Liam Fox, Greg Hands and Mark Field. 

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab criticised “bluff and bluster”, tried to paint himself as “the conviction Brexiteer with a plan” and took aim at Boris Johnson, as he set out his stall to be the next Tory leader.

The former Brexit Secretary spelled out his desire to break from the EU by October 31 even without a deal if necessary when he formally launched his campaign to take over as prime minister.

Dominic Raab (AFP/Getty Images)

He called for a “generational change in leadership” as he criticised Mr Johnson, who has pledged a tax cut for workers earning more than £50,000.

Asked about the rival, Mr Rabb said he would rather cut the lowest paid’s taxes rather than what would be interpreted as “the caricature that you’re the party of privilege and you are only in it to help the wealthy”.

Mr Raab had earlier pledged to raise the employee’s National Insurance threshold to “take the lowest paid out of payroll taxes altogether”.

The former Brexit secretary has been received backing from MPs David Davis, Nadhim and Maria Miller. 

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock launched his campaign to be the next Prime Minister by pledging to increase the national living wage to more than £10 an hour.

The Health Secretary said this would increase the pay of people on the living wage by £3,500 a year as he spoke in central London. 

Matt Hancock launching his bid for PM (AFP/Getty Images)

He also pledged to reduce taxes on working people “when we can afford it”, draw up a long-term plan for education, and proposed an insurance scheme so people did not have to sell their homes to pay for social care.

He said: “When we can afford it I will reduce tax on working people so they can keep more pounds in their pockets.”

Mr Hancock ruled out proroguing Parliament in order to ensure the UK leaves the EU on October 31.

He has also set out his vision for a foreign policy that boosts trade and “resists protectionism”, while also promising to “uphold our values”.

Mr Hancock has been backed by MPs Damian Green, Tracey Crouch and Caroline Spelman. 

Esther McVey

Ms McVey, the former work and pensions secretary, launched her leadership campaign at a meeting of the Eurosceptic Bruges Group in central London.

Joined by fellow MP Philip Davies, she promised to give public sector workers a pay rise and boost funding for policing and education.

Conservative leadership hopeful Esther McVey at a Bruges Group meeting in central London to discuss Brexit (PA)

She said: “I want to stand for leader of the greatest political party ever, the Conservative Party.

“My clear agenda is to deliver Brexit on the 31st of October and then we must unite the country, and then unite our party too.”

Ms McVey said the foreign aid budget must be brought back to 2010 levels.

The former television presenter-turned MP for Tatton, who quit Theresa May’s Cabinet in November in protest over her Brexit plan, tweeted her nomination announcement on Monday morning.

She has been backed by MPs Pauline Latham, Philip Davies and Andrew Lewer.

Sajid Javid

The Home Secretary has been nominated to go through to the first round of voting by MPs.

Mr Javid hopes to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement to remove the Irish backstop but does not want a delay beyond October 31.

Tory leadership hopeful Sajid Javid (REUTERS)

He has set out a plan to tackle the Irish border issue by spending hundreds of millions on a technological solution, saying the UK has a moral duty to pay for measures at the border in an effort to secure a breakthrough.

Mr Javid has put forward a number of policy proposals, including cutting the top rate of income tax and establishing a £100 billion fund to invest in the UK’s infrastructure.

He has received backing from Ruth Davidson, Jeremy Wright and Chris Skidmore.

Rory Stewart

The International Development Secretary is taking part in the leadership race.

A Remainer who now accepts the referendum vote, he has ruled out a no-deal Brexit and would establish a citizens’ assembly to thrash out a new Brexit compromise.

Mr Stewart has also pledged to protect the Conservatives’ “reputation for economic competence”, hitting out at the “unfunded spending commitments” made by rivals.

Rory Stewart addresses a crowd gathered at Speaker’s corner in Hyde Park (EPA)

He has said he would not make unfunded spending plans or announce unaffordable tax cuts. He advocates a simpler tax code, infrastructure spending to boost regions outside London, and more resources for schools and police.

Mr Stewart also wants to boost share ownership among Britons, and would sell off the government’s stake in Royal Bank of Scotland.

He has received backing from MPs David Guake, Ken Clarke and Sir Nicolas Soames. 

Mark Harper 

The former Conservative chief whip announced his nomination on Twitter alongside a photo of him with his proposer Jackie Doyle-Price and seconder Steve Double.

“Please to be officially nominated as a candidate for Leader of the Conservatives – here with my Proposer @JackieDP and Seconder @SteveDouble. I look forward to setting out to my colleagues why I am #Trustedtolead,” he wrote.

Mr Harper was a Remain supporter who now accepts the referendum result and has previously acknowledged he is an underdog in the leadership race.

He has called for a “short, focused” extension to allow for the deal to be renegotiated but said he would be prepared to leave with no deal if that is not possible.

Mark Harper 

Mr Harper has claimed sticking to an undeliverable October 31 exit date could risk making Nigel Farage even stronger.

He has been backed by MPs William Wragg, Jackie Doyle-Price and Scott Mann.