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Michael Portillo

Status: Lost Enfield Southgate in 1997

Age: 46

Qualification for the job: former defence secretary, darling of the Right, expected to challenge William Hague for leadership

Ideological stance: Arch Euroscepticism with new social liberalism and caring side

Odds: 2/1

Success rating: the Castilian stallion is the clear front-runner, but stands accused of having wobbled recently

Rupert Allason

Status: Lost Torbay in 1997

Age: 47

Qualification for the job: Famous for persuading his seaside constituents to elect him not once, but twice

Ideological stance: More known for his dolce vita tastes than his ideology, but a Eurosceptic

Odds: 10/1

Success rating: Too spivvish for the Royal Borough

Peter Hitchens

Status: Columnist on the Daily Express; also appears on television

Age: 49

Qualification for the job: Probably the most determined Blair-baiter in Britain

Ideological stance: Self-proclaimed reactionary who hates everything about modern Britain

Odds: 12/1

Success rating: Outsider, but that depends on how many Fleet Street editors live in Chelsea