1. Rory Stewart
This current foreign office minister, first elected in 2010, is a rising star in the Conservative Party with plenty of diplomatic experience. He joined the foreign office after Theresa May came to power and has chaired the Defence Select Committee.
Replacing Boris Johnson with Stewart could be a sensible move on behalf of the prime minister due to his wealth of experience and lack of controversy. However, with demands for a remain-leave balance in the cabinet, switching heavy-weight Brexiteer Boris for Stewart might not go down well on the backbenches as Stewart originally supported the remain campaign’s bid to keep the UK in the EU.
2. Penny Mordaunt
Mordaunt only recently replaced Priti Patel as the Secretary for International Development. Like Stewart, she is a rising Conservative Party star – only first elected in 2010 – has military experience, and to top it all off she was an original Brexiteer. If Boris is replaced in the immediate future, replacing him with Mordaunt seems unlikely because of her recent switch, but a cabinet reboot in the middle of next year could give her the edge.
3. Liam Fox
Fox has had his controversies – remember Adam Werrity anyone? – but compared to Johnson he is much more of a statesman-like figure. As Anna Soubry said on Channel Four’s 'The Last Leg' last week, giving Boris Johnson the role of foreign secretary was a chance for him to prove himself as a competent figure and not just a joker, but he has failed to do the job with the respect it deserves. Fox is an experienced Secretary of State, and a move from International Trade to the top foreign office job would hardly be a stretch
4. Alan Duncan
Duncan is not a household name, but he has served as a foreign affairs minister since Theresa May became prime minister last year, and previously served in the DfID. He does not have the flash of MPs from the 2010 cohort, but what he lacks in new blood he makes up in experience.
5. Alistair Burt
Burt is another foreign office minister that is far from being a household name. He serves as the minister for the Middle East and North Africa, and has done so since June’s election, before which he spent some time on the backbenches after Cameron stepped down from the country’s top job.
6. Michael Gove
Putting Gove in Boris Johnson’s shoes would shock the UK’s media, but it could allow the prime minister to remove a troublesome cabinet minister and maintain the leave-remain balance. The downside is that the current Environment Secretary lacks foreign affairs experience, but then again, Theresa May made Gavin Williamson Defence Secretary.
7. Priti Patel
Patel is clearly a long shot as she only recently departed the government, but if a reshuffle happens further down the line, Patel’s experience at the DfID and her position as a Brexiteer heavy-weight could play in her favour. Inevitably, her ability to do the job would be questioned in relation to her contact with Israeli officials that led to her recent resignation, but if Boris’ gaffes continue, she could look like a sensible decision.