Final 10 UK premiership contenders named

LONDON (BBC): The final candidates for the Tory leadership race have been confirmed, with 10 running to become the next PM.

Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove – who launched their campaigns ahead of the nomination deadline – are on the final list.

Conservative MPs will now take part in a series of votes to whittle the candidates down to the final two.

The two MPs will then face the wider Tory membership to decide on the next leader of their party, and the country.

Vice chairman of the party’s backbench 1922 committee Dame Cheryl Gillan announced the list.

The candidates are:

Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Health Secretary Matt Hancock

Former Chief Whip Mark Harper

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart

To be allowed to run, the MPs needed to have a proposer, a seconder and the support of six other members.

Sam Gyimah, the only contender backing another referendum on Brexit, withdrew from the race shortly after nominations closed, saying there was not enough time to build support.

Mrs May officially stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party last week, but will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen.

Someone who can win a general election and protect their seats, certainly. Someone who has a plausible plan for Brexit. Someone to breathe life into a glum and dejected party.

If parliamentary sparkle was the main qualification Michael Gove would probably romp this race – but after destroying the candidacy of Boris Johnson last time and recent revelations about his use of cocaine, his reputation has been harmed.

Mr Johnson is divisive among colleagues and his personal life has long been messy, but he remains one of the most recognisable and charismatic politicians in the country.

Jeremy Hunt has a focused, managerial manner, Dominic Raab has the intensity of a karate-chopping former lawyer and Sajid Javid has climbed to the top of the Tory party.

Esther McVey built a career in television that led to politics, Andrea Leadsom is making a second tilt at No 10, and Rory Stewart’s social media campaign has brought him attention and plaudits from outside Conservative circles.

But in this contest, it’s the judgement of Conservative MPs and party members that matters.