Boris Johnson's surprising announcement that he would not seek the leadership of the British Conservative Party — and by extension, succeed David Cameron as prime minister — leaves five candidates for the job. In a series of votes, Conservative members of Parliament will whittle down the list to two finalists, and the party's roughly 150,000 members will choose between them. The process is expected to be completed by Sept. 9. The Conservative Party, which won a majority in Parliament last year, has a five-year mandate that lasts until 2020.
Theresa May, 59, home secretary
Biography: Daughter of a vicar, attended both public and private schools, and studied geography at St. Hugh's College, University of Oxford. Began her career at the Bank of England, and then worked at the Association for Payment Clearing Service. Political career began as a volunteer, stuffing envelopes. Elected to Parliament in 1997. Was the party's chairwoman from 2002 to 2003.
Policies: Advocated remaining in the European Union, but said on Thursday that "Brexit means Brexit" and pledged to negotiate a "sensible and orderly" departure. Regarded as a hard-liner on immigration, national security and social policy.
Quotes: On Thursday, she presented herself as a champion of a "one-nation" conservatism. "If you're from an ordinary working-class family, life is just much harder than many people in politics realize," she said.
Family: Husband, Philip May, is an investment banker.
Interesting facts: Lost both parents in the span of a few months when she was in her mid-20s. Disclosed in 2013 that she has Type 1 diabetes. Would be Britain's second female prime minister, after Margaret Thatcher.
Michael Gove, 48, justice secretary
Biography: Born in Edinburgh, the son of a fish-processing worker. Graduated from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. Started his career as a journalist, reporting for the Press and Journal in Aberdeen, Scotland; for Scottish Television; and for the BBC. Was later an assistant editor at the Times of London. Elected to Parliament in 2005, and was education secretary from 2010 to 2014.
Policies: Was a leader of the campaign to leave the European Union. Asked about the dire warnings by economists against leaving the bloc, he said that "people in this country have had enough of experts." As education secretary, advocated more study of the classics of British literature in schools, along with study of foreign languages.
Quote: "I don't think I have got the exceptional level of ability required for the job," he told the Telegraph before the referendum.
Family: Wife, Sarah Vine, is a journalist; two children.
Interesting facts: Has spoken about how his life was transformed when he was adopted at 4 months; his sister was also adopted.
Andrea Leadsom, 53, minister of state for energy and climate change
Biography: Born in Buckinghamshire and studied political science at Warwick University. Worked in banking and finance for 25 years, including at Barclays, before becoming a senior investment officer and head of corporate governance at Invesco Perpetual, a fund manager. Elected to Parliament in 2010.
Policies: Rose to prominence as a leading advocate of the campaign to leave the European Union. Champion of austerity measures. Supports sharp reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Seen as a contender for Chancellor of the Exchequer, effectively the No. 2 job in the government.
Quotes: "The future for our children and grandchildren will be so great, but what we all have to do now is pull together and make that opportunity a reality," she said.
Family: Husband, Ben Leadsom, is an investor; three children.
Interesting facts: Avid cyclist. Has advocated mental health screenings for new mothers, and supports investing in early-childhood development.
Stephen Crabb, 43, work and pensions secretary
Biography: Raised with two brothers by their mother in public housing in Wales, with disability benefits and help from friends, family and a Baptist church. Attended public schools. Studied politics at the University of Bristol and received an MBA from London Business School. Was a marketing consultant, and worked for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, before entering politics. Elected to Parliament in 2005, and was secretary of state for Wales from 2014 to 2016.
Policies: Has called for welfare recipients to change their behavior as the key to ending dependence on public benefits. Opposed the government's decision in 2013 to legalize gay marriage. Running on an informal ticket with Business Secretary Sajid Javid, the son of working-class immigrants from Pakistan, who would be in line to become Chancellor of the Exchequer if Crabb wins.
Quotes: "The British people want control of immigration. For us, this is a red line."
Family: Wife, Béatrice Monnier, is French; two children.
Interesting facts: Speaks frequently of his Christian faith, which is relatively rare in British political discourse. Active supporter of Israel. Marathoner, rugby player and mountain biker.
Liam Fox, 54, former defense secretary
Biography: Born in Scotland. Trained as a doctor at the University of Glasgow, and worked as a general practitioner. Elected to Parliament in 1992. Co-chairman of the Conservative Party from 2003 to 2005. Unsuccessfully challenged Cameron for leadership of the party in 2005. Resigned as defense secretary in 2011 after a scandal over his personal and professional relationship with a close friend. The man had accompanied him on numerous official trips abroad and had helped broker access to wealthy people.
Policies: As defense secretary, oversaw budget cuts to the military, opposed intervention in Syria, and helped oversee Britain's involvement in conflicts in Libya and Afghanistan. Believes that NATO is the cornerstone of Britain's national security.
Quotes: "I mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred," he said on resigning in 2011. On "Brexit," he laid down a tough line on immigration, saying, "I don't believe the British public would accept the free movement in return for access to the single market."
Family: Wife, Jesme Baird, is also a doctor.
Interesting facts: He once saved the life of a peer who was having an epileptic seizure.
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