Boris Johnson is the favourite among voters to replace David Cameron as the next leader of the Conservative party, according to a new poll.
Nearly twice as many people prefer the Mayor of London over George Osborne, the Ipsos Mori survey found, but crucially the Chancellor is ahead among Conservative supporters.
That is significant because when it comes to choosing the next Tory leader, it will come down to a straight vote of Conservative members between the two candidates chosen to contest the leadership election by the party’s MPs.
Theresa May, the home secretary, came second in the poll of the public, but third amongst Tory voters, while two figures popular with Conservative members – Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Business Secretary Sajid Javid – scored just four and three per cent respectively with voters.
Mr Cameron has pledged not to serve a third term as Prime Minister, meaning a leadership election will take place at some point before the 2020 general election.
The new leader will have to be given time to prove themselves to the electorate in time for the election, so many commentators expect the contest to take place in 2018 or 2019.
Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, threw her hat into the ring today as she hinted she could run, telling the Spectator magazine that whether she ran in the contest or not would depend on the status of her personal relationships.
“I hope that, in the not-too-distant future, there will be another female leader of a main Westminster political party,” she said.
The Ipsos Mori poll for the Evening Standard found that 27 per cent of the public preferred Mr Johnson, while 15 per cent opted for Mr Osborne.
Among Tory supporters, 32 per cent went for the Chancellor and 29 per cent chose the Mayor of London.Reuse content