ON July 5, 2022, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resigned from the Cabinet, heaping yet more pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But what would happen if he resigned, and who could replace him?

What happens if Boris Johnson resigns as Prime Minister?

The Chancellor and Health Secretary quit in dramatic fashion as the PM reels from fallout over the Chris Pincher scandal.

In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak said: "The public rightly expects government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.

“I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”

While the departing Health Secretary, Sajid Javid demanded Mr Johnson leave for the good of the Tory party, and the country.

So what would happen if Boris Johnson did decide to step down?

If he resigned, Conservative MPs and members would hold a leadership race to select a new leader.


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That person would become the PM, despite not having won an election.

In the first stage of the process, MPs whittle down the slate of candidates to the final two through rounds of voting.

Then the wider Tory membership holds an election to pick between them.

The one who wins would become Tory party leader, and ask the Queen to appoint them as PM.

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Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid RESIGN from the Cabinet

Who could replace Boris Johnson if he resigns?

After following the resignations, attention has turned to who could replace Boris Johnson if he does bow to the pressure and leave Downing Street.

Among the most fancied candidates for the top job are:

  • Rishi Sunak – Odds: 4/1
    • The 42-year-old was once seen as a leader-in-waiting, but was hurt politically when his wife was revealed to hold non-dom status. The Tory party grassroots are unhappy at the NICs rise, but he has public goodwill for providing cash during the Covid lockdowns
    • Penny Mordaunt – Odds: 7/1
      • The Trade minister and Navy reservist goes down a storm with Tory rank and file and is a staunch Brexiteer. The 49-year-old is among the favourites for the job, and is regarded as a unity candidate
      • Jeremy Hunt – Odds: 8/1
        • The former Health Secretary voted against the PM in the June no-confidence vote. Polls show he would be beaten by every other candidate in the final round. The 55-year-old is a Remainer, who it's thought would struggle to win over Brexiteers
        • Liz Truss voted remain in the referendum, but is now an advocate of Brexit. It's believed the Foreign Secretary, 46, would appeal to the party rank and file as a tax-cutting heir to Margaret Thatcher

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        • Ben Wallace – Odds: 10/1
          • Wallace, 47, is popular Cabinet minister with the membership after proving solid Defence Secretary. He's a decorated ex-Army officer, who some think could steady the ship
          • Nadhim Zahawi – Odds: 14/1
            • Zahawi, 55, was catapulted into the Cabinet following asuccessful stint as vaccines minister. The 55-year-old was Iraqi refugee who went from arriving unable to speak English to running schools

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