LONDON (Reuters) - 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 eurosceptic, 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 chancellor by May in 2016. If May had won a large majority, local media suggested he could have been sacked after clashing with May’s advisers over policy, and other senior cabinet ministers after pushing for a softer approach to Brexit talks to protect the financial industry.
Rudd was promoted to lead the interior ministry after May became prime minister last year, moving from the Department for Energy and Climate Change. She is seen as a close ally of May’s and was used during the election as a spokeswoman, including during a televised debate which May refused to participate in.
She has led Britain’s response to three major militant attacks this year.
Johnson is one of the most recognisable figures in British politics thanks to his shock of platinum blonde hair and colourful 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 favourite 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 defence secretary in 2010 but was forced to resign a year later after letting an unauthorised aide access ministerial meetings. A prominent eurosceptic, he was rehabilitated by 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 May’s vision of Brexit, arguing in favour 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 treacherous 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 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.
Reporting by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper