Who will be the next Tory leader? All the front runners ranked, from Priti Patel to Suella Braverman

The Conservatives face a leadership contest after a disastrous election result which saw Labour win by a landslide.

But the party has lost a string of senior names who had been expected to stand – including former cabinet ministers Penny Mordaunt and Grant Shapps.

Here we look at some of the remaining runners and riders:

Kemi Badenoch

The combative former business secretary, who has been involved in a number of high-profile clashes, is seen as a strong contender. She had a good run when she competed for the leadership in 2022.

A one-time darling of the Conservative right she was seen to have blotted her copy book, however, when she canned a pledged bonfire of EU red tape. She left the door open to the race when she said, "we will talk about leadership things after an election".

Odds: 11/5

Rishi Sunak leaves the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London after conceding defeat (AP)
Rishi Sunak leaves the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London after conceding defeat (AP)

Priti Patel

The former home secretary is seen as someone who can unite the right of the party and its more moderate ‘One Nation’ members. She is also popular with grassroots Tories and has avoided alienating other MPs, unlike Suella Braverman.

Under the current rules, the party’s remaining rump of MPs get to decide which of the eventual leadership candidates will make it to the final two. At that stage more than 100,000 local party members then make their choice and crown the winner.

Ms Patel is also a Boris Johnson loyalist, who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in his resignation honours.

Odds: 13/2

Suella Braverman

Another former home secretary who caused a sensation when she dramatically resigned from Rishi Sunak’s cabinet. At the time she warned him that his Rwanda plan would fail and that he was leading the party into electoral oblivion.

But her more extreme attacks on her own party are seen as helping the chances of her opponents, including Ms Patel.

Odds: 17/2

Jeremy Hunt (centre) narrowly won in Godalming and Ash, Surrey (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
Jeremy Hunt (centre) narrowly won in Godalming and Ash, Surrey (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Robert Jenrick

A one-time close ally of Mr Sunak he has also stridently attacked his old friend’s immigration plans in recent months. However, some Tory MPs, on both wings of the party, are wary of his apparent change of heart on the issue.

He was forced to deny he was starting his race when he wrote an opinion piece saying the Conservatives are the “natural home for Reform voters” and that former prime minister Mr Johnson “must always have a place” in the Tories, including in Parliament, should he wish to have one.

Odds: 8/1

James Cleverly

Last week allies of the former home secretary made clear that he was not keen to throw his hat into the race to replace Mr Sunak. But that was before his party suffered its catastrophic defeat.

After he won his seat, he warned "there is nothing honourable in presenting simple and thin solutions to challenging and complex problems".

He told his party to “to listen carefully to what the voters are telling us.” "I am not going to rush to any quick judgments,” he said. “I think the right thing to do is be thoughtful and take a short period of time to really assess what the voters are telling us, but it is clear that, when you see the vote share of the traditional main parties of government, that many voters are disillusioned with all of us.”

Odds: 12/1

Former home secretary James Cleverly avoided losing his seat, unlike many of his cabinet colleagues (Sky)
Former home secretary James Cleverly avoided losing his seat, unlike many of his cabinet colleagues (Sky)

Jeremy Hunt

The ex-chancellor has previously ruled himself out of standing for the top job. But he could come under immense pressure from the ‘One Nation’ side of the party to stand – in a bid to prevent the party lurching to the right.

He will also be seen as an experienced hand as the party, out of power for the first time in 14 years, undergoes a period of great upheaval. Giving a speech as he won his seat, he said the national result was “a bitter pill to swallow for the Conservative Party.”

But he added that he had a message to his (hopefully sleeping) children, telling them not to be sad and referencing the war in Ukraine. “This may seem like a tough day for our family as we move out of Downing Street, but it isn’t. We are incredibly lucky to live in a country where decisions like this are made not by bombs or bullets, but by thousands of ordinary citizens peacefully placing crosses in boxes and bits of paper,” he said. “Brave Ukrainians are dying every day to defend their right to do what we did yesterday and we must never take that for granted. Don’t be sad, this is the magic of democracy.”

Odds: 17/2

Tom Tugendhat

One of the great hopes of the ‘One Nation’ Tories, security minister Tom Tugendhat, stood unsuccessfully for the leadership two years ago.

But he is considered to have grown in stature since then and has had a job in cabinet that he can use to argue he is a serious leader who can take his party through difficult times.

Odds: 7/2

Victoria Atkins

The other big name mentioned by ‘One Nation’ Tories from their side of the party. The former health secretary was until currently the most senior member, in terms of cabinet rank, in the group.

She was tipped as a future leader even before she was elected by ex-Conservative leader and PM John Major.

Odds: 14/1

Iain Duncan Smith

Some in the party might want to send for the “quiet man” in its time of trouble. Given how that worked out the last time, however, he will be seen as an outsider in any race.

The former Tory leader, universally known as IDS, had been expected to lose his seat. But a row over Labour’s candidate for the seat prompted an independent to stand, splitting the vote, and giving him another five years in parliament.

Odds: 100/1

Source: Betting odds taken from Oddschecker