Boris Johnson has become the latest cabinet member to resign following the announcement of soft Brexit plans on Friday. Now the question is: who will replace Boris Johnson as foreign secretary?
The Conservative political landscape is looking increasingly chaotic, as hardline Brexiteers highlight what vocal backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning dubbed “not Brexit”. And for the Prime Minister Theresa May, the challenge is to convince the public that what has been agreed upon is indeed Brexit-y enough, while quelling the voices of dissent and avoiding the increasingly frequent mutterings of a no-confidence vote.
Timeline for Brexit
- February 13, 2019
- February 12, 2019
A rapid return to stability is, then, vital for May to survive the week. And a key part of that is the quick replacement of resignees with MPs who are both well-regarded and reassuring to the public. So who will replace Boris Johnson as foreign secretary? We look at the key candidates.
Who will replace Boris Johnson as foreign secretary? The five most likely options
Former Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon resigned in late 2017 following reports that he had inappropriately touched the knee of a journalist in 2002, as well as making a number of inappropriate comments to female members of parliament. While he has previously described himself as a Eurosceptic, he voted remain in the referendum.
Why he could be picked: He has strong experience and will likely back Theresa May
Why he might not be picked: There would likely be a backlash due to his prior inappropriate behaviour, although it probably won’t be significant
Prominent backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has been frequently mentioned as a potential future leader of the Conservatives, representing the traditional values and tweed long associated with the party. Much like Johnson before him, he has become unexpectedly popular as a personality in the party, particularly after the birth of his most recent son, Sixtus. Mogg is a prominent proponent of Brexit.
Why he could be picked: He is well-liked within the country, unlike many other potential candidates
Why he might not be picked: He opposes the agreed Brexit plan and has been rumoured to be targeting the leadership role
The former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd resigned in April amid the Windrush scandal. She voted remain in the referendum, and is generally regarded as loyal to Theresa May. She is now a backbencher, although is not well liked among the general public.
Why she could be picked: She represents a reliable, experienced option for Theresa May
Why she might not be picked: The Windrush scandal is still too fresh in the public’s collective memory
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The current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Gove is apparently loyal to May. He voted leave and was prominently involved in the referendum campaign. However, he is perceived as engaging in manipulative behaviour and is generally not well liked among the general public.
Why he could be picked: He represents the rare combination of backing May and being in the leave camp
Why he might not be picked: He already has a cabinet position, meaning his appointment would prompt a wider reshuffle, and he isn’t well liked
The current Minister of State for Prisons, Rory Stuart would be a break from the high-profile characters of British politics. Although less well-known than the other contenders, he has a generally positive image. He voted remain in the referendum. However, he has only been an MP since 2010.
Why he could be picked: He represents a fresh face for the position
Why he might not be picked: His Brexit position may play up to the emerging Brexiteer narrative, and he is relatively inexperienced