Boris Johnson is once again fighting for his political future as the Partygate scandal continues to damage his authority as prime minister.
Johnson, having appeared to recover some of his standing amid the UK’s response to the Ukraine crisis, saw this effectively disappear earlier this month when he was fined for breaking lockdown rules in Downing Street in June 2020 - becoming the first ever serving PM to be sanctioned for breaking the law.
The saga continued this week, with the government forced, in the face of a threatened Tory rebellion, to abandon plans to try and delay a vote on an inquiry into whether Johnson misled Parliament over the scandal.
Senior Conservative backbencher Tobias Ellwood said on Friday a confidence vote among Tory MPs is now looking “inevitable”.
Watch: PM 'happy' to face parliamentary investigation into whether he misled MPs about partygate
With an ever increasing likelihood of Johnson eventually being kicked out by his own MPs - or effectively being forced to resign if he is found to have misled Parliament - Yahoo News UK provides a brief overview of the leading contenders to replace him as Tory leader and therefore PM.
Liz Truss (6/1 on Oddschecker)
The foreign secretary has long been tipped as a successor to Johnson, and is a favourite of the Tory grassroots.
She has been in government since 2012 and as foreign secretary has aggressively sought to boost her personal profile. The taxpayer-funded photos of her in a tank on a visit to Estonia - replicating a famous Margaret Thatcher image - is a case in point.
Tom Tugendhat (7/1)
In January, the senior backbencher - and enemy of Johnson - became the first Tory to say he would throw his hat in the ring if there was a leadership contest.
As someone without ministerial experience, few people outside Westminster will know who he is. But with his fresh perspective, could he replicate the impact of Rory Stewart in the 2019 contest?
Jeremy Hunt (7/1)
The former health and foreign secretary who was sacked from government after he and Johnson made the final two of the 2019 contest.
Ben Wallace (8/1)
Like Tugendhat, perhaps a surprising frontrunner. But as defence secretary, Wallace has been praised for his response to the Ukraine crisis.
He has remained loyal to Johnson, saying on Thursday: “The prime minister is my prime minister, I fully support him.”
Penny Mordaunt (10/1)
Regarded as a “dark horse” candidate, trade policy minister Mordaunt has been in Johnson’s government since 2020, having initially been sacked after backing Hunt in 2019.
Mordaunt is said to be well-liked among Tory MPs, as well as popular with the party membership.
Rishi Sunak (12/1)
A few months ago, the chancellor looked like a prime minister-in-waiting and was not shy about publicly distancing himself from his scandal-hit boss. The narrative has changed dramatically.
But then he was widely criticised for not doing enough in his spring statement to help people amid the cost of living crisis. And then it emerged Sunak and his family potentially saved tens of millions of pounds in taxes through his millionairess wife Akshata Murty’s non-dom status. And then he was also fined for breaking lockdown rules…