The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister

Chancellor has 15 per cent lead over Sajid Javid, his closest rival in the latest poll of Conservative party members

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Indy Politics

George Osborne is nailed on to replace David Cameron as Conservative leader and Prime Minister, a new poll has revealed.

The latest poll of Conservative party members shows the Chancellor has a massive 15 per cent lead over his closest rival, Sajid Javid.

Meanwhile the two candidates who have long been tipped to stand in Mr Osborne's way of succeeding Mr Cameron as the next leader of the Tories - Theresa May and Boris Johnson - are lagging behind in third and fifth place respectively.

Mr Johnson, who was widely expected to launch a leadership bid if Mr Cameron had lost the election, has even slipped behind right-winger Liam Fox, who stood for the leadership in 2005, eventually finishing third behind David Davis and Mr Cameron. 

The monthly future party leader survey by ConservativeHome shows Mr Osborne with the backing of 33 per cent of members, with Mr Javid second on 18 per cent, Ms May on 15, Mr Fox on 13 and Mr Johnson trailing behind on 12 per cent.

The poll is significant because Conservative party members have the final say over who they want to be leader - after the party's MPs have chosen the two candidates they want to fight it out to the end.

Mr Cameron has pledged not to serve a third term as Prime Minister, meaning there will be a leadership election before the 2020 General Election.

He has insisted he will serve the full five years, but whoever succeeds him will be best placed to win the 2020 election if they have been given time to prove themselves in Number 10, suggesting Mr Cameron will stand aside in 2019 or even 2018.

There have even been reports that he will quit Downing Street after successfully guiding the party through the EU referendum, to be held before the end of 2017.

The EU referendum will play a significant role in who stands best-placed to take over from Mr Cameron. If voters opt to remain in the EU, George Osborne will be in a good position to succeed Mr Cameron  as a stable, carry-on candidate whose pro-European stance will have been vindicated.

However if Britain chooses to quit the EU, it could hand the advantage to a eurosceptic, such as Boris Johnson, who may even campaign to leave the 28-state bloc.

The party may opt for a younger, more energetic candidate, however, and as the poll shows, the fresh-faced Business Secretary Mr Javid could be just the man the Tory membership goes for.