Following the historic referendum vote that defeated his Remain campaign, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will step down, opening the door for several “Eurosceptic” replacements. The question is, just how anti-European Union will the UK go once Cameron is out?
“I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I don’t think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” Cameron said Friday, after seeing his all-out push to keep the country in the EU fail by a four-point margin.
The most likely and potentially game-changing replacement for Cameron is former London Mayor Boris Johnson, the vocal Eurosceptic who helped successfully lead the Brexit campaign.
“This does not mean the United Kingdom will be any way less united (or) any less European,” Johnson said in a conciliatory press conference Friday. “We cannot turn our backs on Europe, we are part of Europe.”
Though he deliberately took on a subdued tone after the seismic victory, Johnson is one of the most passionate advocates for cutting the EU cord, to the point that he was willing to stake his political career on the Leave campaign.
According to the Express UK, Coral give Johnson 8/11 odds to be the next Prime Minster and 8/13 to be the next Conservative leader.
Home Secretary Theresa May is another possible replacement for Cameron. While she has officially included herself among the Remain party, she has done so in a subtle enough manner to keep herself widely popular. Coral lists her as the second most likely after Johnson, with 7/2 odds to be PM and 5/2 odds to be the Conservative leader.
Another candidate is Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who, like Johnson, is strongly anti-EU, calling the Brexit the chance for the UK to finally “break free” of the EU and regularly casting the “European elites” as the enemy of the British people. According to analysts, has seen his chances rise dramatically since the beginning of the Leave campaign (analysts give him 13/2 odds to become PM, and 9/2 to be the next party leader).
As for potential Conservative leaders, George Osborne, who has been angling to replace Cameron for years, is likely out after Remain’s defeat, analyst William Hill giving him only 20/1 odds to be the next Tory leader. He might also end up losing his chancellorship after the defeat.