Will it be Johnson or Hunt? The pressing question of the last few weeks.
Only two candidates remain in the race to be the new Prime Minister. One Remainer and one Brexiteer will face off in a Conservative leadership contest, with the new PM being announced on Monday the 22nd of July.
Only Conservative Party members will be able to vote for the next prime minister — something that’s been put under intense scrutiny recently. Here’s everything you need to know about the two candidates who will go head-to-head to get the keys to 10 Downing Street.
Constituency? Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Remainer or Brexiteer? Brexiteer
Previous Cabinet Roles? Foreign Secretary (2016-18)
Johnson has been the frontrunner in this Tory leadership race ever since Theresa May announced her resignation at the end of last month. As a high-profile Brexiteer, he’s popular amongst Conservative Party MPs and members. Current cabinet members Matt Hancock and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab are notable backers of Johnson; both who were previously in the leadership race.
However, comments in the past by the former foreign secretary have divided the opinion of citizens across the United Kingdom. One of his most infamous moments was last year, when he referred to Muslim women in burkas as looking like ‘letterboxes’ — a provocative comment which drew a lot of criticism. He was also not present at the Channel 4 debate on June 16, which was highlighted by both Channel 4 and people on social media.
Boris Johnson first became a Member of Parliament in the 2001 General Election, for the Henley-On-Thames constituency. He succeeded former notable Tory politician Michael Heseltine and won the seat comfortably, whilst still working as the Editor of The Spectator for a period of time after his election. Johnson was re-elected in the 2005 election, increasing his majority even further to over 12,000 people.
After winning the 2008 London Mayor election against Labour candidate and then Mayor Ken Livingstone, he resigned as the MP for Henley-on-Thames and served the capital for two full terms from 2008-2016. In this time, he banned alcohol consumption on public transport in London and introduced the ‘Boris Bikes’ initiative. He was also Mayor at the time of the 2012 London Olympics, where he played a part in preparing the capital for the games.
After winning the MP seat for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2015 General Election, he was made Foreign Secretary in July 2016 under Theresa May. However, he resigned from the cabinet in 2018 over the Government’s handling of Brexit. He has been a backbencher ever since.
Votes for each ballot? First Ballot: 114 | Second Ballot: 126 | Third Ballot: 143 | Fourth Ballot: 157 | Fifth Ballot: 160 (Source).
Constituency? South West Surrey
Remainer or Brexiteer? Remainer
Previous Cabinet Roles? Culture Secretary (2010-12), Health Secretary (2012-18), Foreign Secretary (2018-present)
Hunt was second place, behind Boris Johnson, in the first three leadership ballots before being knocked into third place in the penultimate ballot by Michael Gove. In the end, Hunt just about pipped Gove to second place in the fifth and final ballot, winning just two more votes than Gove. The 52-year-old, who’s spent several years in the Cabinet, is a Remainer like Theresa May who has also promised to deliver Brexit.
Jeremy Hunt is not a very popular figure in the health sector as a result of his time as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. People see him as an unfit character to lead the country following his time in this role from 2012 to 2018. However, he now has a 50 per cent chance of being the next Prime Minister.
Hunt worked as an English teacher in Japan before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2005 for the South West Surrey. This was an election in which Tony Blair and the Labour Party came out victorious for a third consecutive time.
Shortly after the 2005 election, Hunt was appointed Shadow Minister for Disabled People for just under two years before he became a Shadow Minister for the 2012 Olympic Games in 2007. He carried on as a Minister for the Olympics after the Conservative Party came into government in 2010.
Hunt was promoted to the role of Culture Secretary in 2012 for two years, where he served under David Cameron. He continued to serve under the former Prime Minister when he was made Health Secretary in 2012. Jeremy Hunt stayed as the Secretary of State for Health for just under six years. Despite dividing opinion with regard to his job performance in his role as Health Secretary, Theresa May kept Hunt within her Cabinet, appointing him as the Foreign Secretary in July 2018. This is a role he has been in ever since.
Votes for each ballot? First Ballot: 43 | Second Ballot: 46 | Third Ballot: 54 | Fourth Ballot: 59 | Fifth Ballot: 77 (Source).